Faith vs Unbelief

In Numbers chapter 13, we see the story of the spies that God commissions to “spy out the land.” These 12 men were given orders to “see what the land is like,” “if the people who dwell there are strong or weak,” “few or many,” “if the land was good or bad,” and whether or not the cities were “large or small and fortified or not.”

These 12 men returned to Moses after their 40 day reconnaissance mission with their report. They were very accurate in their report. They noted that the people that inhabited the land were strong. They reported that there was a population of giants, or, very large men. They informed Moses that there were people groups filling every corner of the land.

Of the 12 guys, 10 of them concluded: “we are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” (-vs.31) On the other hand, we have Caleb and Joshua who agreed on an entirely different conclusion. Though there was no disputing of the facts gathered during this recon mission. After all, the descendants of Anak (giants), were in the land. There were in fact many different and fierce peoples in the land. Yet, Caleb said: “ We should by all means go up and take possession of it (the land) for we will surely overcome it.”

So what is the difference between the conclusion of the 10 vs the stand that Caleb and Joshua took?

I believe there is a clue in verse 27. When the spies were beginning their report they said to Moses: “we went to the land where you sent us.” They were reporting to Moses as if this was a mission that he had commissioned. However, that was not the case. God had given these orders to Moses,(vs1&2) and Moses had been faithful to simply send the spies as he was instructed.

If they had to rely on Moses and themselves, then yes, taking possession of the land was an impossibility. However, God never asked them to trust in either Moses or themselves to accomplish his will. He had already promised, and repeated the promise. to give this land to Israel. He wanted them, and He wants us, to trust in Him to accomplish all that He desires. This is the walk of faith we are called to.

In chapter 11, verse 23, the Lord asked Moses: “Is the Lord’s power limited?”

How do you live your life? Do you trust the Lord, or, are you trusting in yourself? Do you have confidence in His word and promises, or in your assessment of things?

“…perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” -1 Sam. 14:6


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