Of the 12 spies who went into the promised land, 10 brought back a godless report. They exaggerated the size and power of the inhabitant tribes. Only two men returned to camp with a good report – Joshua and Caleb. They said, “Let’s go up and take the country. It’s a good land and we’re strong enough to take it.” (Numbers 13,14)
The Israelites looked at numbers. Ten against, two for. They chose to shake in their boots with the fearful ten. That choice led to much whining and complaining. Some even made plans to return to lives of slavery in Egypt.
The Israelites did what we often do. They overestimated the power of evil and underestimated the power of God. They accepted bad news as fact. Often information from experts turns out to be tainted by pre-conceived ideas, faulty input or personal agendas. In the 1970s a movie circulated amongst many evangelical churches. It showed maps of the world illustrating how Communism would eventually take over the whole world – doom, doom, doom.
Like the enemy tribes ofIsrael, Communism had many weak spots. It wasn’t invincible. Their takeover of the world wasn’t imminent. God was at work behind the scenes taking it apart brick by brick until it tumbled, seemingly overnight.
Many of the challenges we face today appear impenetrable. They make scary noises, spread false rumors of destruction. If we believe the stories of doom, we will fall into the same trap the Israelites fell into – the trap of disrespecting God.
We must always be careful not to overestimate the power of evil and thereby underestimate God’s power to destroy evil. If we view the world as a great enemy, able to take us down at any moment, we will end up living a faithless fearful life.
Forty years later, the quivering voices of the fearful Israelites were dead. Joshua and Caleb, men of faith and courage took charge and led the Israelites to victory.
Will you side with the fearful ten or the faithful two?