By Benjamin H. Liles
"Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan (twelves men to spy out the land), and said to them, 'Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, and see what the land is like...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, New King James).
I wonder how much we all take what we're told not only for granted, but also that we are very fearful in what we're told to do. Look at what Moses told these men to do: "Go up, see what the land is like. Are the men there strong or weak, few or many; is the land good or bad; are their cities camps or strongholds; is the land rich or poor; are there forests or not?" This is what Moses tells them to report back with. And then Moses adds a command, "Be filled with courage," in other words, "bring back some fruit of the land."
So these men go out, doing supposedly what they were told. They brought back some of what they were told to bring back, proof that the land flowed with richness, abundance, and the means to make them full, fat and also to receive the goodness and providence of God their King. But notice also what these men say when they come back with their small spoils: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 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" (Numbers 13:27-29).
"Nevertheless the people are strong; cities are well built and strong; they are large; descendants of Anek reside here; There Amalekites in the South, the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites up in the mountains; and the Canaanites? They live along the sea coast and the banks of the Jordan." Of those twelve men, ten were terrified stiff of the things they saw. Have you ever felt that way? I mean, let's be honest here. Let's say you have a job interview to go to and you know you can get the job, but something about the interview spooks you. So, you let it fester in you, you allow it to push you down, make you feel small and like you can't do anything to take it on. The challenge is far too great.
Or rather you have just gotten back from what was a great date with the woman of your dreams. She was beautiful. She was decked out, played with her hair, flirted with you, thought you were super cute, fun, outgoing, and wanted to know if you'd meet her again. But your hands were sweaty, you thought you were going to get sick, maybe excused yourself to the bathroom and thought, "I'm too small. I can't ever truthfully be seen with her. She's too good to be true." Where and when do we get out of our own way and see the promises God is with us, blessing us with those things He said He'd give to us.
Let's go back to what God said here: "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people" (Exodus 33:1-3).
In other words God is telling the people of Israel, "I will deliver the people of the land into your hand. My angel will go before you. I will drive them out, the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite." God tells them over and over here, "I will do it." But what do these twelve men do? They come back like they are whooped dogs, having been defeated already, even though God commanded them, "Go up and take possession!" They saw what God told them to do as "bad news" (Exodus 33:4). When will we ever learn to rely on God? When He tells us He will do something and all we have to do is to go up and take possession, He will do the rest of everything else, it means we can rely on Him.
That job interview you went to go get, you had it, but somewhere you got it in your head you blew it. Well, actually you did, because your hung your head in shame when you were told, "Come back tomorrow, you will fill out paperwork." You took that to mean that you were to be processed, not that you got the job. That date you were on? You saw all those signs to get that girl and you felt flattered by her, but decided, "Nah, she's too far out of my league." So when you walked her to her door, you gave her a limp handshake. She was going to kiss you and you bombed that!
Where do we get it in our heads the things and signs that God gives us when He tells us, "Hey, I'm doing this, and all you do is this" and take it to mean, "Hey, you're a loser!"? Where do we get that from? Are we seriously too vain and vapid to realize God's giving us something because, as scripture tells us, "Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings" (Psalm 17:8, New American Standard). I know the Old Testament was written for Israel. It was written to be something God would fulfill on behalf of His people, those who would be faithful to Him.
Look, God gave us something far greater within the confines of the New Testament. no longer are we those people who are stiff-necked and self-absorbed. We have One who came in our place. The Old Testament promised One who would be known as "God with us," Emmanuel. He came to us as a baby, in a manger, born of God to a virgin woman. At no other time did this One come. And you know what this man did? He went in your place. He took the pain and rejection and suffering you would feel and took it on the cross. You're no longer a loser. You're no longer a wimp. You're no longer a person who has a stone within their heart. God made a way to provide redemption for you. But you have to realize it was His work, nothing you earned or deserve. He did it to offer you a way out of His wrath.
The promise is to enter His glory; to enter into His rest. That's the eternal land flowing with milk and honey. No longer do you have to live in the desert places. So, come on and look at the promises God desires you to see in His word. He desires a relationship with you. He honestly and truthfully doesn't want to condemn you. But your rejection of Him is putting you in a place you're saying, basically, "Look, I get what you want to give me, but I'm unworthy." Stop it with that mindset. The jail cell is open to release you from your spiritual prison you find yourself in.
Did you know when Jesus went to the cross and bore your sins, God said this to you?
* "Come now, let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool" (Isaiah 1:18, Berean Study).
* "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25, New American Standard).
* "I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22, Holman Christian Standard).
* "For thus says Yahweh of Armies: 'For honor he has sent me to the nations which plundered you; for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye'" (Zechariah 2:8, World English).
You are what God desires to protect. His desire is to call you clean. He has done everything for you to see are now ransomed from sin and death. This means you no longer have to live any longer within the confines of sin and death. It also means you have to take Him at His word. I know, what a shocker and revelation there. But trust me, let the shock and amazement wash off you first. Then maybe you can realize God pardoned your sins. He has tied a millstone around your sins, around death, cast them into the sea, no longer to burden you. But it means you have to do the rest, and it is simply to walk with Him, talk to Him, allow His word to dwell within you, and to be the child He has looked so far and hard for. You had been kidnapped and held ransom, and He paid the price so you can be His.
I pray this touches you, blesses you and show you how much God thinks of you. As scripture tells us within the pages of the New Testament, "Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away. You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God with your body. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot" (Acts 3:19; 1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Peter 1:18-19). Allow God to heal you and your soul. I pray with blessing and encouragement that the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ, is your portion and prize. For it is in His name, honor and glory I write these words to you. Amen.