Twelve Spies | Devotion 5: Caleb
Have you ever felt like God was leading you somewhere you know would be amazing, but the obstacles in the way made you shy away in fear? I am raising my hand. Even when I know that God has called me to do something, sometimes my fear will hold me back. What if I am not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough? What if I am completely unqualified? Those insecurities scream at me to keep me from where God is asking me to go. This is not just an issue for me; this was an issue for the Israelites who had just fled Egypt under Moses’ lead. By the time we reach today’s passage in Numbers chapter 13, God has already promised Moses a land for His people that was rich and fertile and would be theirs for the taking. Moses sent twelve spies to the land to check it out and report back on what they had found. Upon their return, they gave plenty of good reasons for entering this promised land, but their fear was stronger than their faith. According to ten of the twelve spies, the reward was not worth the risk. Numbers 13:31-33 tells us that the ten spies came back from the Promised Land and reported, “‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’”
These men had seen the beautiful and bountiful land that God had promised with their own eyes, and yet they came back determined to sway the Israelites away from entering it. Instead of God’s promise, all they could see were the giants (literally!) that stood in their way. I am going to pause and give a teeny amount of slack to these men because if I was in a land that God told me was going to be mine, but all I saw were actual giants living there, I would probably be afraid too. It is said that these giants, “the sons of Anak,” would have been between seven and nine feet tall! The cities were fortified with huge walls, with guards stationed on the top. These are majorly threatening and difficult obstacles, probably impossible for mere men, yet they forgot the most important part – God was on their side, and not only that, He had promised them this land! If I can say one thing with absolute surety, it is that if God makes a promise, He is going to keep it. Unfortunately, only two of the twelve spies kept this in mind. In verse 30 we see one of them trying to reassure the people of Israel, “But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’”
I have always enjoyed reading about Caleb in the Bible because he reminds me of my own Caleb. My husband would totally be the one to come back from seeing a bunch of giants and confidently tell people that he could take them (and I have actually seen him do it on the basketball court). The Caleb of the Bible knew that God would have their back, and with Him on their side, they could overcome any obstacle. He called for his people to stand and do as God commanded. It would have been wise for the people to trust God and listen to Caleb. Instead, they listened to their fear, and it cost them dearly. Friend, I know the obstacles can be scary. I even know that often times, our insecurities might be totally accurate. Maybe we are not smart or strong enough. I, for sure, know that most of the time, I am totally unqualified. That is when God can step in and do a mighty work. I encourage you to let Him do His job, despite your fear and inadequacies. Trust in His promises and remember that with Him, you are well able to overcome!