Numbers 13:1-2 The LORD said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
The twelve spies were given an opportunity by the Lord to see if they would be faithful or not. What kind of report would they bring back? Would they simply describe what they found – or would they do something else?
It’s important to remember the history that these 12 men had. They all were leaders who had experienced God’s incredible deliverance from Egypt. They saw the miracles. They walked through the parted Red Sea. They saw the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day. They knew the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was with them. They knew that they were exploring the land promised to Abraham and his descendents.
The 13th and 14th chapters of Numbers tell us what happened. We don’t remember the names of ten of the spies but we honor the names of Joshua and Caleb. The ten didn’t simply report that there were giants in the land along with all the positive things there. They allowed the giants in the land to provoke fear and unbelief; giving the people a bad report.
Joshua and Caleb focused on the fact that the Lord was with them. He would enable them to take the land. The fact that there were giants and enemies there paled in comparison to the Lord being with them. Unfortunately, the people chose to believe the ten and rebelled against the Lord.
This story illustrates a principle that God uses repeatedly in our lives. He gives us opportunities to follow Him and accomplish things that He has purposed us to do. But in the midst of those things, He allows all manner of problems, difficulties and obstacles to arise. They can be fearful or overwhelming. How are we going to respond? Will fear or faith dominate our responses?
We have a choice to make just like the twelve spies and the children of Israel did. We can be fearful and complain – or we can seek and trust the Lord, lifting all of those problems to Him. We can focus on the problems or we can focus on our God – unbelief versus faith. Each is an opportunity for the Lord in His greatness to enable us to overcome. The choice is ours. How will we respond?