Jesus promised us a good life overflowing in both quantity and quality, but that’s not always our experience. Nonetheless, He has promised it, therefore how do we possess it?
At the beginning of Israel’s time in the wilderness, Moses sent out twelve spies to spy out the land that God had promised them. For forty days they travelled to and fro.
Upon their return, they reported to Moses. Caleb (and Joshua) gave a good report. The other ten were terrified by the obstacles that faced them and gave a bad report. Their words influenced the people, and so began a forty year delay until all the doubters had died.
What was the difference between the two groups of spies? It was how they saw themselves and God.For the ten, Numbers 13:33 is revealing:
“There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
They saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to their enemies. Tiny, insignificant, and ready to be devoured. The last part of the verse is significant: “. . . and so we were in their sight.” Their enemies saw them as they saw themselves, ready to be overpowered.
In comparison, Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people who had sided with the ten: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.”Why did Joshua and Caleb see it so differently? They believed God.
Belief or unbelief meant the difference between forty years in the wilderness and immediate victory. For Joshua and Caleb, two incidents stand out:
Firstly, as they pleaded with the people, they made mention of the promise: “a land which flows with milk and honey.” In the forefront of their minds was the promise that Moses first heard at the burning bush, had heard again on the mountain and shared with all the people: God Himself would bring them into this good land.
Secondly, as Moses gathered the spies to send them out, they were reminded that it was God’s fight not theirs. In Numbers 13:16 we read:
“These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.”
Hoshea means deliverer, Joshua meant Jehovah-saved. In that last moment, before the spies were sent, Moses at God’s leading, reminds them that the fight is not theirs but Gods.
Forty years later, when the people eventually crossed the Jordan into the promised land, they did so believing God. What was the attitude of their enemies on this occasion? They were terrified.
In fact Rahab says in Joshua 2:9:
“I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.”
What a turnaround! The vital difference was what the people believed.
This whole story is not just recorded for historical purposes, it’s also a picture of the Christian life. It depicts the situation we also find ourselves in.
When we put our faith in Jesus and were saved, we were delivered from the place of slavery. We passed through the Red Sea. We came out of that old life. However, many of us are still wondering around the wilderness waiting to possess the fruitful land God promised us.
What was the one enemy which kept Israel in the wilderness? It’s the same enemy that keeps US from experiencing a full life: Unbelief!
God is the one who has promised to destroy the enemies in front of us. Today, why don’t you lift up your eyes and place them on God. HE has promised you abundant life, and HE will bring you into it. As you begin to believe His promises and what He says about you, you’ll begin to see victory after victory until all of that life is yours.
So today, let me leave you with the words of Caleb from Numbers 13:30:”Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
I would love to hear your testimonies of how faith transformed your experience. Please leave a comment below.
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