-The time comes when God is ready to instruct Moses on sending 12 spies into the land of Canaan, which He was going to GIVE to the sons of Israel. One leader from each tribe was chosen for this mission to capture a vision of what lay ahead for God’s chosen people. From the wilderness of Paran, at the command of the LORD, they went to the Negev in the south country and as far north as Rehob, at Lebo-hamath, which was north of the Galilee and on the west coast. They went to see what the land was like. Whether the people in it were strong or weak, few or many, good or bad land quality, camps or fortified cities for the population, fruitful or barren in geography, and with a command from Moses to bring back its produce (Numbers 13:1-21).
-They came to Hebron, which was the ancient burial grounds of their patriarchs like Abraham and Isaac among others, after they had ventured through the Negev. This was the beginning of the hill country, and the spies found the descendants of Anak there. Then they came to the valley of Eshcol (cluster) and cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes since it was the time of year of the first ripe grapes. They carried the produce on a pole between two of the men along with some of the pomegranates and the figs of the land (Numbers 13:22-24).
-At the end of their 40 day, 500 some-odd mile, mission into the Promised Land, they returned to Paran in the wilderness at Kadesh, and proceeded to meet with Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the sons of Israel. It was report time, and the people were anxious to hear what had occurred in their journey. They began with the fact that indeed the land was traversed and that it did flow with milk (more than likely goat’s milk from the indigenous species) and honey (more than likely pomegranate or date honey, not the kind from bees as we typically think, Deuteronomy 8:8). They presented them with the fruit of the land, which they had brought back. Nonetheless, they spoke of the strength of the people who currently occupied the land as being “strong” with “fortified,” and “very large,” cities with the massive size of the descendants of Anak. They further spoke of Amalek, who was living in the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites who were living in the hill country. In addition, they described how the Canaanites were both by the sea and over by the side of the Jordan (Numbers 13:25-29). Then Caleb quieted the people from their negative noise before Moses and boldly stated, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it (Numbers 13:30).” But, the others, excluding Joshua, that went up with him denied the power of God’s people to go up and overcome. They reported that the people in the land were “too strong for us (Numbers 13:31).” Their bad testimony included the fear that the inhabitants of the land would devour them because of their great size because they had seen the Nephilim (sons of Anak). They concluded that they would become as small and insignificant as grasshoppers in the sight of these mighty men if they tried to conquer the Promised Land (Numbers 13:32-33).
-*Application* Fear and worry are the polar opposites of faith and courage. Caleb is our shining example of faith and trust that the LORD had the power and ability to GIVE them what He had promised. The rest in this text were persuaded by negativity and the physically seen obstacles that daunted their mission and vision. Instead of optimism for the future they chose to wallow in the hopeless of perceived barriers to their progress. Have a “can do” attitude today for everything that God has called you for and promised unto you. Let the reminders of Caleb ring in your ears. By all means go up and take possession, overcome the giants in your life through the promises of Almighty God! Tear down strongholds and shout out in victory with confidence! God is on our side! No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:13-17)! This is the heritage of the faithful.
Verse to Memorize: Numbers 13:30