“Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him and said; “We went to the land where you sent us. 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. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying “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 (of the descendants of Anak came from the giants), and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:26-33)
So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in the wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another. “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel saying: “The land we pass through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.” Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones…” (Numbers 14:1-10)
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt for four hundred years with each year getting more and more brutal. They were miserable. God sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt. He performed miracle after miracle after miracle before their very eyes. Yet, at the very first hurdle they murmured and complained; ready to kill Moses for bringing them out of bondage. They get close to the promised land and they sent in twelve men to spy out the land and report back to Moses and Aaron their findings.
Ten of the twelve saw only their limitations and inabilities to achieve victory. They turned the hearts of the people against God and Moses with their report. Only two said “no! wait! we can do this!” Joshua and Caleb. God finally had enough and pronounced that NONE of the people of this generation would go into the promised land–no one over the age of twenty could go in–except Joshua and Caleb. This must have dismayed Joshua and Caleb a lot because they were young men at that time. So for the next forty years, they wandered around in the wilderness until every last one of that generation died out. Their unbelief prevented them from receiving God’s promise.
Yes, Joshua and Caleb had to wander around with them for forty more years. Years they could have spent working their land and building their livelihoods and leaving a good inheritance for their children. They sacrificed a lot because of the unbelief of the majority. Still, they were faithful. They supported Moses and Aaron wholeheartedly. They fulfilled the calls on their lives faithfully. Then one day, after the unbelievers died out, it was time once again to go up to take the land God had promised to them! This time, they had people with a backbone and faith in God to take the land. And they took it city by city.
Life brings choices to each one of us too. God gives us a promise and the enemy comes with the voices of the unbelievers and says it is impossible. We can either believe the bad report or we can believe the report of the LORD. His promise. It all comes down to one question: DO I TRUST GOD TO DELIVER HIS PROMISE? Do I trust what I see with my eyes, or do I trust the Word God gave to me?
Notice that the children of Israel blamed God for it all. In spite of the parting of the Red Sea, in spite of making water gush from a rock, in spite of supernaturally sending manna from heaven and quails day after day, and then keeping every single person healthy. In spite of all that, they let the bad report turn them completely against God and His anointed leader Moses. Then when Joshua and Caleb tried to reason with them, they wanted to kill them! How many times have we seen and experienced God’s supernatural help in our lives but when we face a giant we blame Him and wish we were back in our old bondage?
The lesson I take away from this story is that when I am faithful to trust that God has my best interests at heart. That He is my solution and not the source of my problem. That He is the only one who can give me the victory. To believe HIS report only–eventually, I will go into my promised land. I will live in the victory He has planned for me. Whose report will you believe today?