Take a moment to consider what you offer God. Do you treat Him as you would a dog, giving him the leftovers of your time and energy? God deserves our best. He has given plenty of evidence throughout our lives and surroundings that shows us who He is and how He should be honored.
In today’s Bible passage from Numbers 13-14, God instructs Moses to send one leader from each tribe to spy out their Promised Land for forty days.
Key numbers from the story:
- 11 days to reach the Promised Land from Mount Sinai
- 40 days to spy out the land (number of testing), which should be plenty of time to gather evidence that what God has told them is true
- 12 tribe leaders spy out the land (number of perfection)
- 10 leaders doubt God and believe that the Israelites should not enter
- 2 people have a different spirit – they believe God’s Word and want to do as God has instructed
1. Be different and believe the evidence. Numbers 13:26-29
In their quest to spy out the land, the twelve leaders discover that God’s promise to the Israelites is true: indeed the land is flowing with milk and honey, meaning it is has water and rich soil so that they can raise animals and harvest crops to sustain themselves.
But did they really need to discover this information for themselves? God had already rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt by performing incredible miracles over and over again. Shouldn’t He be trusted by now that His promises are true?
Apply this to your own life. If you think about it, you have probably experienced many events and circumstances in which God has given you evidence that He is real, that He loves you, and He has changed lives around you. How many times has He rescued you by His grace? Isn’t this evidence enough that He can be trusted?
2. Be different and give a good report. Numbers 13:30-33, 14:6-9
Although the twelve spies discover that the land is just as God promised, ten of them are afraid of the people they find dwelling there. Therefore, they choose to distrust God and not enter the Promised Land.
Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, have a different spirit. They believe God’s promise and report back positively, encouraging all the Israelites to enter the land just as God has told them. But the other ten spies are naysayers. In their fear, they give a negative report:
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:31-33
There will always be people in your life to naysay and discourage you from believing God’s Word and His direction. But you can have a different spirit and choose to trust God. You can start by telling people what God has done in your life. Share the ways in which God has sustained you and protected you in times of trouble.
3. Be different and walk into the Promised Land today. Numbers 14:24
So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:1-4
Instead of walking the eleven days and going straight into the Promised Land as God commands, the Israelites allow the negative report of the ten spies to convince them not to trust God. They complain, rebel, and claim they would rather be dead than enter the Promised Land.
Joshua and Caleb beg the people to reconsider. They encourage them by their report of the land and remind them that God Himself will deliver the land into their hands. But the people refuse to listen and even threaten to stone them.
In what ways do you dig your heels in against God? Do you worry about what others will think? Let yourself be overcome with fear? Or simply not believe the evidence that God has good plans for you?
God is so frustrated by the behavior of His people that he decides all who did not believe Him will never enter the Promised Land. He says in verse 3o “Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” Instead, they wander around this eleven mile distance for forty years until they die.
God honors those who trust in, believe, and obey Him.
What a miserable choice the Israelites made by not believing God!
God honors those who trust in, believe, and obey Him. So won’t you put Him first? He has proven Himself over and over again that He will forgive you and transform your life. Choose to have a different spirit, believe the evidence, and trust in the most trustworthy One there is!