Chapters Read: Numbers 1:1 – 15:40; Psalm 90
“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.
Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” – Numbers 14: 7-9
When the Lord, through Moses, sent the leaders to explore Canaan, it was the first time that He showed them proof that there was, indeed, a promised land. That they were not wandering in the desert for nothing. That they were rescued from slavery so they can enjoy the benefits of living in a land that’s flowing with milk and honey.
But how did the leaders respond to this gesture?
“The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” – Numbers 13:32-33
The leaders responded in fear. They accused God of bringing them out of Egypt only to let them fall by the sword. They even planned on electing a new leader that would bring them back to Egypt, the land of their oppressors.
This is what fear does. It shifts our focus from the greatness of God to what our limited eyes can see. We forget what the Lord has done for us in the past and start blaming him for every obstacle that comes along our path. We forget about His goodness. We forget about His promises. We accuse Him of being against us, when in fact He has always been for us. What’s worse is that fear makes us want to turn back to where or who we once were, before God intervened. It makes us feel that we’re better off without Him. And this is sin.
“How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? – Numbers 14:11
I think, in one way or another, we’ve all experienced being betrayed by the people we love most. Do you remember how that felt? If we, in our finite way of loving, is capable of feeling so much pain after being treated this way, how much worse would God–who loves us beyond measure–feel?
“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” – Numbers 14:24
But among those leaders was Caleb. He found favor in God’s eyes because of his faith. He was the only one who said “we should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” He was fearless.
And what made Caleb say such a thing? Was it because he was confident in his own strength? No. As God said in Numbers 14:24, Caleb followed Him wholeheartedly. He wasn’t afraid of what was ahead of them because He was confident in God’s strength. That there’s no room for fear if we are walking in the will of God.
“Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” – Numbers 11:23
May we all be reminded of this truth. That God is strong enough for anything that we are about to go through. As the new year unfolds and new challenges arise, may we not rely on our own strength, but on God’s. There’s no need to fear, if we are walking in His will.