God had led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. He had shown Himself to be faithful to His people. He had shown Himself to be powerful, working miracles of protection and provision. Fresh on their minds were the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, and the water from a desert rock. God had given His people every reason to trust Him and no reason not to.
The Israelites were nearing their destination, the land of promise called Canaan. God told them in verse 2, “I am giving it to the people of Israel.” “Promised Land” was almost “Reality Land.” It was time for the Israelites to go in and possess their possession.
The Lord told Moses to send a reconnaissance unit into Canaan to gather intelligence for the Israelite invasion. Twelve men, one representative from each of the twelve tribes, left on a 40-day mission.
Upon their return they reported that the land of Canaan was so fertile that it “flows with milk and honey” (v.27). As evidence, the scouts presented a single cluster of grapes that was so large and juicy that it took two men to carry it! Not only was God giving His people a home, it was a home that could sustain them and satisfy all their needs.
At that point, the mood of the report soured. The spies related that grapes were not the only things that grew big in Canaan. The cities were enormous and well-protected, and their populations were large and strong — and the Anak (meaning “long-necked”) were there, a race of unusually big-bodied people. When the Israelites heard that, they panicked.
Caleb, the scout from the tribe of Judah, quieted the people and declared, “Let’s go take the land! We can do it!” I like Caleb’s attitude. Based on what he had seen God do and what he knew God had promised, Caleb knew that victory was sure. If God was with them, no one could stand against them!
The other spies (with the exception of Joshua) revealed their lack of faith. They did not believe God could help them: “We are not able…they are stronger than we are” (v.31). Their statement would have been true had God not been on their side — but He was!
The spies turned to the congregation and exaggerated their report to incite fear (v.32-33), and it worked. On the threshold of a new blessing, the people chose fear over faith and became paralyzed in their unbelief.
What about you? Will you choose fear or faith today? Will you listen to the voice of truth or will you let faithless, fearful people manipulate your emotions? Where is the spirit of Caleb, the man who said “We are able to overcome”?
In whatever God has called you to, charge on, my friend! With God on your side you are unstoppable! Don’t wimp-out now! Trust God’s promise and His power and go for it!