But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then 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 are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Numbers 13:30-14:4 ESV
On the path from Egypt to Canaan, there were some points God led them to that were higher risk than their lives as slaves. Seeing the size and strength of the inhabitants of Canaan was one of those points. If they didn’t trust God as Caleb and Joshua did, they would see no hope against Canaan, and they chose to go back.
Later in chapter 14, God’s punishment for this was that they would wander in the wilderness just outside their promised land for 40 years until all current citizens of Israel except Joshua and Caleb had died. Their choices had thrown away their access to the promised land.
At once, many of the Israelites realized life was not worth living if they could not be used in God’s cause. They decided, instead of waiting to die in the wilderness, to fight for Canaan without God’s blessing, and die.
Faith in Jesus is a free gift, and following Jesus costs everything. In my 29 years, I have squandered much time being scared to do things God was calling me to do. I’m grateful he’s slow to anger, and his love is steadfast. But the truth is, if I just “believe in Jesus”, and reject the cause of God, life isn’t worth living. I must grow in trusting God’s plan, even while the stakes inevitably get raised.
Jesus, the same grace that saved my sinful soul is sufficient also to endure me to the end; to accomplish every good work that you’ve prepared for me. If I see all of it through and stay the course, it’s all because of Christ. Not my own power. Give me the grace to take on everything you call me to.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.