News, Noise or Nonsense?
Israel was poised finally to enter the land promised to them before their fathers left Egypt. But before they would go into the land God directed Moses to choose one man from each of the twelve tribes and send them to spy out the land to see if indeed it was as God had said it would be. So, Moses chose twelve men, one from each tribe, and sent them out to go into the land and bring back a report of what they saw and a sample of the fruit.
“Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” Numbers 13:17-20
“So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath …And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.” Numbers 13:21-25
Completing their mission they returned with their report. They brought back some of the grapes they had seen just one bunch was so overwhelmingly bountiful with fruit that it had to be carried on a pole by two people.
“Then they told him, and said: ‘We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit…’” Numbers 13:27
This was a good report. The land was just as God had told them it would be. But then, the men continued to tell the rest of their story.
“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
That was the report of ten of them, but Caleb and Joshua had a different perspective.
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.”
Sounds like a goof report, but the others just shouted them down and began to even embellish their story with more prognostications of disaster that would meet any one daring to go into the land.
"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.” 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 13:28-14:4
Ten of the twelve spies brought back a bad report filled with fear, anxiety, negativism, and abject doom and gloom. Thy told of the greatness of the people both their appearance and their power. Their story contradicted itself, in that, on the one hand the land devoured its inhabitants, on the other there were giants inhabiting the land. They said there are giants, the descendants of Anak in the land.
Now this is one of the most telling things about how they saw the situation. They said, “and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
They saw themselves as helpless already defeated victims of the “great” men of the cities that God had told them to go in and possess. They blamed Moses and Aaron for leading them there and they even had the audacity to accuse God of bringing them there to be slaughtered.
But, there were two men who saw things differently and their report agreed with what God had promised the people from the beginning. Their report did not concur with the report of the ten. Joshua and Caleb saw the situation from a completely different perspective. So, they interrupted this dower diatribe by the ten and said to the people,
“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
Despite his positive and hopeful report, the noisy, fear-ridden negativist shouted him down and began to expand their report into alarming threats and conjectures about what could happen to them if they tried to enter the land.
“the land devours their inhabitants,” “all of them are giants,” "we are like grasshoppers.”
So the people, convinced by the report of the ten that they were doomed, began to weep and cry out and complain against Moses and Aaron. Then, to add more drama to their story they began to moan and complain saying,
“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 14:2-4
Despite all God had done to prove His love, care and favor over them, they actually desired to go back to the bondage and cruelty of slavery in Egypt, rather than trust God to be with them against the people in the land that He had promised to give to them.
But Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes, as a sign, an act of deep spiritual separation from and rejection of the idea that the people would even consider going back to Egypt. It was the highest form of priestly judgment against an offense, even heretical act against God.
“…and they spoke to all the congregation of the children 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, “a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” Numbers 14:7-9
Did you catch that? The ten looking at the same set of circumstances that Joshua and Caleb saw, only saw giants in the land and themselves as grasshoppers ready to be devoured by them. But faithful Joshua and Caleb saw God’s hand with them and the people of the land as their slaves (their bread) totally at the mercy of their hands, because, “their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us.”
The Lord is with us. We don’t have to fear or be intimidated by the bad news of the spies or the noise of the “giants” or the nonsense of those accusing God of tricking us into willfully walking into a place so He can destroy us.
As in the days of Moses some of the things we hear today from those who think they are or are supposed to be in charge of the universe, to order all things according to their warped and too often totally anti- God rhetoric of lies, deceptions and profanity laced vitriol, intentionally intended to intimidate and harm those who oppose them, are no different from the spies who brought a bad report.
Despite their noise, nonsense and bad news we have a good report the Good News that God is with us through Jesus Christ our Lord. So, we stand as Joshua and Caleb stood firm against the purveyors of doom and gloom, to declare that which God has promised He will do and all those who oppose Him will come to naught.
The land that we go in to possess is a land that flows with milk and honey and we are well able to take the land.
I believe God is reordering our nation and our world to conform to His will and purpose in these last days. Those who oppose Him are making themselves more noisy, more nonsensical and their perspective on the news more threatening of doom and gloom because the spirit of Anti-Christ that is motivating their rhetoric is about to be revealed.
But we, who are called by the name of the Lord, have nothing to fear and nothing to dread of their profane ranting, criticisms and threats. As long as we stand for what is right in the sight of God we stand on firm ground with Him. God is with us.
Remember, however, though men may rage and shout, and rail against God and His people, of whom we are, who claim Christ as our Savior and Lord, our fight is not with men. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, (not human) because our enemy is not carnal, (human beings).
“For wewrestle not againstflesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13
This is the promise of God to Joshua and by it he won the day.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
And this is Jesus’ calling tot us.
“'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
The same God with Joshua is the same God with us today.
The devil is a liar, God is exalted and Jesus is Lord over all.