Twelve Spies | Devotion 4: “However”
Pastor Ben Kirkman
Every time I study the Israelites and their wilderness wanderings, my temptation is to jump to judgment and say, “What is wrong with you people?” God literally led them, fed them, and provided for their every need. The only responsibilities they had were to love, trust, follow, and obey God. As they followed God, He was miraculously proving His power and faithfulness. Reading through their adventures in the wilderness, you can predict how they will respond to the “difficult situations.” A perceived problem arises, and what do they do? They start to whine, complain, and forget the promises of God. What a miserable way to live! God has never failed them, yet they refuse to trust that He will take care of them again.
In our study today, we find the children of Israel close to the land God has promised to them (Do not miss the part that it is the land God has promised to them). They are on the outside looking into their future. Twelve spies are chosen to sneak into the Promised Land and take a survey of the land and the people that occupy it. The spies return and give their report to Moses and the people. The land is awesome! It flows with milk and honey! The fruits and vegetables are incredible. On the other hand, Numbers 13:28 says, “However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large.” They emotionally retreat thinking, “There are too many obstacles for us to take the land God has promised to us. The enemy is too strong, the walls are too tall, and the cities are too big for us to defeat. We cannot do it!”
What? God has said the land is yours. God has never let you down before. Trust God and go take the land! Earlier, Numbers 13:2 said, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.” It was a land that God described as “which I am giving.”
Of the twelve, there were two spies who believed God and tried to encourage the people to trust God and take the land He had promised them. The Israelites responded to the two by trying to kill them. The consequence for the doubting people is they end up dying in the wilderness and never entering the Promised Land.
The Israelites let their perceived problem become bigger than their God. They had an amazing God who had never been anything but faithful and trustworthy, yet they chose to let their fear dictate their actions. Their fear became bigger than their faith, and it destroyed their lives.
Instead of saying, “What is wrong with them?”, we need to reflect on our own lives and consider, “Do I trust God, His promises, and the way He is working in my life?”
Do you believe God is in control and that He is bigger than any problem you may face?