Do you remember Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi and Geuel?
I guessed not.
Who cares about these people? These are some examples of obscure characters in the Bible. However, you will recognize these characters if I remind you they were with Joshua and Caleb when they explored the Promise Land (Canaan).
You can read the full account in the book of Numbers chapter 13 and 14. They are the twelve spies sent by Moses after they finally reached the border and are ready to subdue the land.
What is the purpose of spying the land? They wanted to see what the land is like and whether the people who lived there are strong or weak. In addition, they wanted to make it sure if the place is unwalled or fortified (verses 18-20).
After 40 days of journey, they returned with report to the assembly.
What do we learn from this story?
Its not about numbers
Firstly, its not about numbers. Its about standing for what is right. Out of ten, only two spies gave good report. The 10 spies have fear, doubt, self-depreciation, and unbelief. Upon hearing the report, the Israelite community expressed unbelief and started rebelling against God and blaming Moses and Aaron.
They thought it would be better to go back to Egypt.
Given the scenario, Caleb and Joshua demonstrated faith.
The remarkable contributions and achievements of Joshua and Caleb, during Israelites rebellion make them characters worthy of our respect and admiration. Which do you find more credible: majority opinion or minority reports?
Can you imagine the whole assembly grumbling against God? However, Ellen G. White made an interesting comment:
Caleb’s faith now was just what it was when his testimony had contradicted the evil report of the spies. He had believed God’s promise that He would put His people in possession of Canaan, and in this he had followed the Lord fully. –Conflict and Courage, Page 123
In some circumstances, your faith will be tested when you are being pressured by people around you. But this is a great opportunity to stand with God.
Stand up for the truth
Secondly, lies are the opposite of truth. Interestingly, the ten spies have spread not just negative conditions of the land but they added bad report with lies. They said the inhabitants of the land devours those living in it (verse 32).
While it may be true that people living in Canaan are great in size, this does not mean the Lord will not lead them. The children of God must learn how to discern the truth when it is diluted with error or fallacy. Its not easy but with courage and faith, everything is possible with God.
When was the last time you stand up for the truth?
Trust and obey
One of the Israelites’ big problems was fear. They feared they would be left alone against the wilderness, against the Canaanites, against their own physical needs of hunger and thirst.
For instance, the ten spies reported the people who lived there are tall and strong and from the descendants of giant Anak (verse 28).
They did not trust God. As result, they had wandered for 40 years in the wilderness because of their unwillingness to take the land.
Do you see overwhelming giants in your life? Cancer. Financial hardship. Illness. Marital problems. etc. These are some examples of seemingly never-ending giants in your life that can ruin your relationship with God.
However, the admonition is plain and simple: just trust and obey. When God is on your side, you will never be small like a grasshopper. Indeed, there is no reason to give up your faith.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9, NIV
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