Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Numbers 13, 14

In Numbers 13 and 14 is the account of the Israelite spies being sent into Canaan to scout out the land. They spend forty days going through Canaan and brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it had to be carried on a pole between two men. They also brought back pomegranates and figs. The report of the spies was accurate at first. It does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there (Numbers 13:27, 28). All this was true. Caleb spoke up and said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it (Numbers 13:30).

It was then that the other spies revealed their colors of cowardice and spread a bad report among the people of Israel. The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (Numbers 13:32, 33). Now the story is being exaggerated by fear. The spies foresaw danger in the taking of the land. They feared death and did not believe God could protect them and give them victory. The result of this false report was that the people became terrified and wanted to return to Egypt. They proposed stoning Moses and Aaron and choosing a new leader to take them back.

Caleb and Joshua spoke up again. The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 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. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them (Numbers 14:7-9).

God’s anger burned against the people and he suggested to Moses that he destroy all of them and build a new nation from Moses’ seed. But Moses interceded for the people and God forgave them. Nevertheless, they would wander in the wilderness for forty years until every one of them who was over twenty years old was dead. And, God struck the ten lying spies with a plague and killed them all.

We all know the rest of the story. What does this say to us? My wife has taken to saying that we are walking on water here in Shafter. In other words, God is doing a miraculous work here and we are merely walking by faith. If we stop and look down we will surely fall and fail. God has changed all the plans we had for planting this church here. It was supposed to be a nice, typical Reformed Church. But guess what! Hardly any of the many Dutch Reformed people in the area were interested in a church plant. Who has responded? God has brought us all kinds of Hispanic people who have a different culture and a different language! The church is growing! It is somewhat terrifying! God is taking the land back and giving it to us. The words of Caleb and Joshua ring in my ears, “If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land…Do not be afraid…THEIR PROTECTION IS GONE BUT THE LORD IS WITH US!” So we will not be afraid.

What is God doing in your life? To what is he calling you? What does he want you to do? Does it look terrifying? Do not be afraid; their protection is gone but the Lord is with you! Just don’t look down!


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