Read: Numbers 13:25-14:9
At some point in our lives, trouble will come up. A bad report from a medical test, the betrayal of a trusted friend, a child who rejects us, or a spouse who leaves us. The list of possibilities is long, but there are only two options: move forward on our own, or turn to God.
Going alone into the face of trouble is not a good idea. It can lead to bad behaviour patterns, blaming God, and retreating into defeat. Like the Israelites, we may spin out of control and into despair (Num. 14:1-4). When the majority of the spies brought a report of intimidating giants and dangers ahead, they used the pronoun “we” seven times with no reference to the Lord (Num. 13:31-33). The Israelites were on the tip of the ultimate blessing that God promised to them. They were eyewitnesses to the miracles in Egypt and their feet had walked the dry bottom of the Red Sea as an incredible miracle. God’s faithfulness had been amazingly evident. How short-lived were their memories! What disappointing faithlessness! Sadly, they turned their backs on God and left the blessing behind.
God’s punishment was pronounced on the others except Joshua and Caleb: “Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in…” (Num. 14:30). Unlike Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord’s calling out from Egypt, but they did not follow Him into the land.
Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, chose to turn to the Lord with this confidence: “The Lord is with us” (Num. 14:9). In fact, those two were the only adult Israelites in that first generation who went “into the fullness” of God’s calling. When your giant problems show up, what will you do? Will you turn to God and trust Him?