After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.
Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.
God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.
“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]
The Lord tells Moses to gather some men together to scout the Promised Land, the land He was giving them. When He makes the request, He even restates that He is giving this land to the Israelites. They were to simply walk through the land and bring back their report with some fruit. When the men came back, ten of the twelve men were not eager to enter the land.
Though God already stated numerous times that He was giving the land to them, the men didn’t want to pursue the promise. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who spoke of what this great land boasted. It was described as a land that was flowing with milk and honey. The fruit was so large, two men had to carry it back. Yet instead of focusing on the promise of God, ten of the men focused on the people who were strong, much stronger than the Israelites. They even spoke of giants. Beside these giants they “felt like grasshoppers.”
How often do you feel like a grasshopper when God calls you forward? How many times do you look at the giants, and turn in the other direction? How many times do you allow the lies of this world to keep you from embracing the promises of God? Whatever He promises, He will be deliver. We can choose to be grasshoppers, or we can choose to rise up and be the sons and daughters of God. He has called YOU forward. Rise up my friend.
“We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” – Numbers 13:33 [NLT]
As you read Genesis, you learn of the Promised Land, the land that God had promised to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember: blessing, land, and descendants. This Promised Land was eventually inhabited by Abraham’s descendants when Joshua and the Israelites entered Canaan. Nonetheless, Abraham never got to claim the Promised Land—He never got to reside in this area, the Promised Land.
In Genesis 23, we read of the death of Abraham’s wife Sarah, and we read of her burial. Here we read of the patriarch’s wife dying and Abraham attempting to purchase land to bury her. Why did he need land? He had none! Despite God promising him land, there was no land. Abraham was a sojourner. But Abraham negotiates a deal with Ephron the Hittite for a cave and a field to buy and then bury his beloved wife. In making settlement on this land, in purchasing the deed, Abraham was buying a very small piece of the Promised Land.
You may think, why should Abraham have to buy a piece of land that God promised him. God said that land would be his, but it didn’t mean it would happen overnight or even in his lifetime. But as Abraham lost his precious wife, this situation gave Abraham a reminder of what would come. By purchasing this small piece of the Promised Land, he was able to lay down roots in the land that would one day be the land of his descendants. He was burying the first of many of his family, in the land that God promised would all be his. As he was making this purchase, he was trusting in this great promise from God—and declaring His faithfulness.
We don’t know how God will work in a situation. We don’t know the steps, the plan, or even if things will happen during our time on earth. But we do know we have a faithful God and His Word never fails.
“So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.” – Genesis 23:17-20 [NIV]
When the Israelites were to go into the Promised Land, there were areas that were appointed by God for each tribe (except Levi) for their inheritance. If you turn to Joshua 19:40-48, it will state the land area that was given to the Danites. Yet in Judges 18, we read that the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place to settle. They had not moved into the land that God had given them. Rather than fight for the land that God had appointed to them, Dan instead wanted to scout out some new land.
God had given them land as an inheritance but they wanted some other land. They did not want to fight—to do the work necessary—to get the land. God is a promise keeper. God gave them this land. But they did not trust God to see them through or they did not want to do the necessary fighting to get what God had given them.
Is there something God has promised you, but you have turned to some other land? Some other occupation? Some other project? Something else because the leg work did not look appealing? Something else because you did not truly believe that God would provide what He promised? There was fighting when the tribes would enter their allotted area. Some pushed forward in faith and received what they were given. Others, when pushed back, turned around to find a plan B for themselves. God has one plan for your life. Don’t turn around for a plan B.
“Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.” – Judges 18:1 [NLT]
When the spies were sent into the Promised Land, the report that came back was actually two different reports. Ten of the spies admitted the land was good, but focused their attention on the giants that were in the land. They aimed to persuade the Israelites not to enter the land. Joshua and Caleb went against the majority. In Numbers 13:30, the Bible says that “Caleb tried to quiet the people.” He wanted to go “at once” and exclaimed, “We can certainly conquer it!” The account goes on to mention that Caleb had “a different attitude.”
There are many times when we should check our attitude and motives for things. It is good to ask why we are doing things. It is good to see if we are being positive or negative, believing or doubting, loyal or unfaithful. Caleb “remained loyal.” He saw giants. He saw the exact same things as everyone else. But there was a difference. He didn’t look at the giants and say, “Wow, look at those big giants. I think we should turn around.” He looked at the giants and said, “My God is big enough to do as He promised. He is faithful. We can certainly conquer this land. Let us go at once.” There is a big difference between these two statements—and it is all about the attitude—all about the focus.
Today is a good day to examine your attitude. Is your attitude different from the majority? Are you trusting God? Are you focused on giants? We each can look at the giants and see God’s great power or look at the giants and drown ourselves in fear and doubt and disbelief. Caleb had a different attitude. I pray you remain just as loyal.
“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]