by Bob Winter
Have you ever doubted God’s plan for your life? Have you ever said, “I just don’t know what God wants”? Have you experienced the hand of God in your life one year then found yourself in the midst of another struggle the next? Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit calling you to take action and then go silent once you moved in that direction? Have you experienced the unimaginable pain and loss of a child, spouse, parent or close friend and wondered why God would allow this?
The book of Numbers shares the story of when God spoke to Moses and instructed his men to spy out the land of Canaan, the land God promised to Abraham.
Spies sent into Canaan
A little over a year into the journey in the wilderness out of Egypt, God instructs Moses to send spies into the land of Canaan which He promised on oath to Abraham to give to the children of Israel. Numbers 13: 1-2 He instructed him to send twelve leaders of each of the tribes. They were to see what the land was like, weather the people were strong or weak, few or many; weather the land was good or bad, if there were camps or strongholds; weather the land is rich or poor and if there are forests or not. He also told them to bring some of the fruit of the land as it was the time of the season of the first ripe grapes.
After forty days, they returned from spying out the land. They brought back their report to Moses, Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel. Numbers 13: 27 states “It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there”.
Caleb, the son of Jephunneth from the tribe of Judah said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But ten of the men who had gone up with him, all heads of the children of Israel said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” They gave a bad report of the land to all the children of Israel. They went on to say, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants, descendants of Anak; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13: 30-33
When we read the biblical account of God’s encounters with Abraham and Moses, that spans hundreds of years, one could begin to develop a sense that God was constantly “on call”. These powerful biblical stories with compelling graphics we learn from childhood are absent the long span of time in between. As we continue to move through Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, we read account after account of God’s chosen losing faith in the One who displays His power again and again.
Stay tuned as we journey back down memory lane and revisit the majesty God displayed through his many encounters with Moses and His power displayed to the children of Israel.