We will follow the people of Israel to learn how when we allow fear and doubt to control us, we lose opportunities that are there for our taking.
The people of Israel are marching to their promised land. They have left Egypt and have witnessed numerous miracles along their way. Israelites have enough evidence to know that God is with them and Leads them in this undertaking. The people can see that God’s promise to Abraham is coming true, the promise to make them a great nation and inherit a land flowing with milk and honey.
God had evidenced his desire to fulfill the promise that he had given to Abraham’s descendants by parting the Red sea, feeding them with Manna, and symbolizing his presence in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
For Israelites, the evidence that they need to draw their strength upon is all around them. They now have a task to prepare to inherit the land that God had promised Abraham, their forefather. They pick one person from each tribe to complete the task of spying on the land they will inherit.
The 12 spies are tried and true leaders in each tribe (Numbers 13:3 All of them were leaders of the Israelites.). They were not ordinary men; they have shown advanced leadership skills among their tribes. Others depended on their guidance and vision, their ability to lead. The spies had gained the trust of their people and had influence among their people.
Even though each of the spies had the similar qualification and were capable men, their outlook in life became evident when they came back and started to recount their experience.
A Strong Mindset
Numbers 13:30, Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
Here we see Caleb and how he interpreted the experience that he had in Canaan. First, he had a positive outlook. Second, he was aware of the challenges, but he was willing to face and overcome them.
In Numbers 14: 7 – 9, we see how they thought about the challenge before them, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.V.8 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. V.9 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. So do not be afraid of them.”
Caleb is filled with hope for the future. He is willing to place everything in the hands of God. He realizes the judgment for the people living in Canaan has come and God’s grace is turned towards the people of Israel to follow God’s words and not rebel against Him.
Caleb acknowledges the sovereignty of God, but he is also willing to step out in faith and not back down from the challenge that is before him. Thus, we see faith overcoming fear and doubt.
A Negative Mindset
The 10 other spies shared a similar set of experiences like Caleb and saw the same challenges but arrived at the opposite conclusion.
Numbers 13:31- 33 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” V 32 They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. V 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Remember, these 10 men had similar qualifications, they were leaders, but they had a different approach to life. They were not willing to face the challenge before them with faith but rather with fear.
Numbers 14: 3,4 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” V4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Since they accepted the fear and doubt that existed, they were convinced that they would all die in the desert. Therefore, they went to the extent of craving for the life of slavery that they had just escaped.
When you take on a new challenge in life and start on a new path, everything will be fresh and uncertain. If you focus only on your strength and ability, you will end up feeling like the Israelites. You will devalue yourself; you will not remember any of the victories you had in your life, and you will feel all alone.
A narrow mind limits your vision, clouds your judgment, exaggerates your obstacles, and discounts God from your life. All you will then left with is a grasshopper-like opinion of yourself.
An adverse opinion usually has a more significant influence and effect on your life than a positive expectation. It was confirmed in the life of Israelites, and they readily listened to the negative mindset.
The right medicine for fear and doubt is to put your faith in God. See the words that Caleb used v.9 “the Lord is with us,” V8 “He will lead us into the land” Do not be afraid of your circumstances and rebel against God. In Number 14:24, we see how God acknowledges Caleb’s mindset “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.”
God acknowledges a strong mindset that depends on the faithfulness of God. Are you debating whether you should take the opportunity that is in front of you? Are you looking into yourself and coming short of what it would take to succeed? Here is a promise for you from Numbers 11: 23 “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” So, why are you waiting?