Being promised something is wonderfully hopeful, but sometimes the span of time in between can make it seem like it’s never going to happen. God’s promises can feel this way when we don’t practice faith on our way to our promise. The Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years on their way to the Promised Land must have felt like this.
Yet, when they got right up to the thresh hold of their long-awaited promise, the vast majority didn’t run toward the promise with open arms. Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan to explore the land and bring back a report of what they saw. The twelve men experienced the same things but came back with vastly different reports.
Ten of the men said in Numbers chapter 13 that the land was flowing with milk and honey but (here comes the but) the land will surely devour us and the people are giant; we seem like grasshoppers compared to them. This sounds like a complete exaggeration to prove their point, “We don’t want to go”.
Caleb on the other hand confidently silenced the Israelites and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Forty years is a long time to wander around the dessert. But Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who saw the land of Canaan as the land promised to them by God.
Fear had gotten the best of the ten spies who tried their best to convince their community not to move toward the promise. Perhaps they found contentment in God providing their every need in the desert for the last forty years. Sure, they were wandering through a desert, but God gave them food, their clothing never wore out and His presence went ahead of them. This had become their comfort zone.
Now, here they are on the brink of something so much better, something brand new…The Promised Land at last! But entering this promise required risk. That was frightening to these ten men. In fact, it was so terrifying that they tweaked the report they brought back to their community in hopes they wouldn’t want to proceed either.
I fear that bad reporting keeps many Christians from claiming their promise. Many times believers will stand on the threshold of God’s promise over their life, but they are too scared to take a risk. They listen to bad reports which convince them the timing isn’t right, or someone else has already claimed that promise or perhaps think like the ten spies that they will be overpowered if they enter into the promise.
Caleb and Joshua had the courage to do more than just stand on the sideline and peer into the Promised Land. They trusted that God would give them the needed strength and provision to fight for it and claim it as their own. The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is please with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 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. Do not be afraid of them.” Caleb said in Numbers 14:7-9.
Your promise is exceedingly good and the Lord will give it to you. Will you have the Spirit of Caleb to claim it? To fight for it? To believe for it? 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.” Numbers 14:24.