“ 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
3 So at the LORD’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.” Numbers 13:1-3 NIV
“17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
Report on the Exploration
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
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.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 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.” Numbers 13:17-33 NIV (emphasis mine)
When they sent the spies to Canaan for 40 days, Israel learned that God’s promises while always good, never comes without a price to pay and obstacles to overcome. When it comes to entering the Promises of God, there will ALWAYS be a BUT to overcome! We all have “buts”. Some “buts” are bigger and nastier than others. Some “buts” get in our way more than others. With every promise of God and great destiny for God’s people, major “buts” must be overcome! When they spied out the land, Israel did see God’s faithful promises to be claimed in the Promised Land, BUT Israel’s leaders were also quick to recognize the “buts” before them…
… but the people who live there are powerful.
… but the cities are fortified and large.
… but there are descendants of the giants living there.
… but they are stronger than we are.
Israel made the same mistake that I have often made in following God. They thought that since God had promised them the land of Canaan, surely it would be easy to enter into and possess. They failed to realize that God’s promises ALWAYS come with BUTS to overcome!
God knew about the powerful people who lived in Canaan. He knew about the large and fortified cities. He was not shocked at the giants who resided in Canaan. He was not taken aback at how strong they were!
When ten of the twelve spies saw the challenges before them, they understood it to mean that the price for God’s faithful promises was too high to strive for.
Joshua and Caleb were not ignorant of the “buts” that the other spies saw. They saw the challenges before them. The difference was that Joshua and Caleb felt that God’s promises were the price of overcoming the “buts.”
I know that there are many “buts” I face when endeavoring to launch a new ministry. I can see them quite easily as well…
… but what if I fail?
… but what if people think I am crazy?
… but other people are better suited for this.
… but I don’t have the time or energy.
… but I don’t have the finances or support.
I have often thought that Joshua and Caleb were blessed because of their faith to blindly believe for God’s promises. I am seeing today that their faith was anything but blind. They clearly saw what the other ten spies saw. The difference was that Joshua and Caleb believed God’s promises and were willing to pay the price for it. The other spies saw the promises too. They just weren’t willing to pay the price for it!
Recognizing God’s promise is one thing to do. Few people have the willingness to get up and fight for it! is something else entirely! Many people can see and verbalize His promises. Few are willing to take the risk to stand up to claim God’s very best for their lives because they are more afraid to look silly or crazy! Few are willing to stand up to others and risk the possibility of failure or embarrassment for God.
Someone once said it this way, “The gambles for gold are much, but the gamblers for God are few. Where are the gamblers for God?”
Lord Jesus may I be a gambler for You. Increase my heart to risk for Your sake and for Your cause. Empower me to have the spirit of Caleb that is always willing to take on the greatest challenges for Your name’s sake. Amen.