“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.” –Numbers 14:30
I’ve been going through the Bible chronologically and am in Numbers (which, by the way, can be hard to read through sometimes with all the temple dimensions and guidelines for offerings and what not!). I just read the part where God tells Moses to send spies into the promise land to scout out the area.
And you know how it goes…the spies said it was too scary and the people said they didn’t want to go, and so God instead had them wander in the wilderness for 40 years. But what really struck me was the difference in how Caleb and Joshua responded versus how the other spies responded.
Numbers 13:27-28, 31: “They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and 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…’ But the men who had gone up with him [Caleb] said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
They had taken their eyes off of God’s promise to take them into the Promised Land and off all the incredible things He had already done for them, and instead put their eyes on the world. And they were right- in their own strength they couldn’t take the land. But the mistake was that they limited what God could do to their own strength. They focused off of Him and on themselves. He had promised to do the work for them!
Listen, however, to how Caleb and Joshua responded! “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.'” (Numbers 13:30)
“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh…spoke to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us…Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land…the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:6-9)
In response, the congregation said to stone them (v. 10). Wow.
Joshua and Caleb knew that in their own strength, the Israelites could not win. But they knew that God had promised, that God was faithful, and that God would take care of what He said He would take care of. They kept their eyes focused on God.
Because the congregation of Israel refused to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14), and even said they wanted to go back to Egypt, God said they would not enter the land. However, God rewards those who trust Him: “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.” (Numbers 14:30)
Joshua and Caleb had done the hard thing…they had gone against the flow. They had kept their eyes on what God had said instead of putting their eyes on their circumstances. How we can struggle with that as believers! Our circumstances are vying for our attention, but God has spoken…which one will move us to action?
God will reward us for that, too. He wants us to trust Him. Bad things happen when we focus on our circumstances instead of on Him. Like Charles Stanley says, “Obey God and leave all of the consequences to Him.”
Have a great weekend!