The Two Who Dared to Believe
Daily Reading: (Numbers 14:38):
“Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.”
How many spies did Moses send? Moses sent out twelve. How many of them failed to believe the land would be theirs? Ten of the twelve or 83.3% of the people sent to check out the inheritance God was giving them did not believe that is was theirs to receive.
“So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it” (Numbers 14:36).
What is unique in this story is that the faith of these two had no impact on the other 10 spies, in fact the other ten convinced all of Israel to not believe in the promise of God. But just because it seemed that Caleb and Joshua had failed to influence the people- they were still going to be great influencers. God’s plan was to use Joshua and Caleb to lead the next generation into the inheritance He was giving.
Moses makes a fatal mistake, the mistake is not in sending the spies, this was what God said in Numbers 13:2, but allowing the spies to poison the minds and hearts of the people into not believing God for the good things He said He would bring about. I believe the error starts in the questions Moses asked of his spies:
“When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes” (Numbers 13:17-20).
What difference does it matter if the people are strong or weak, if the city is fortified or not? God wanted you to send the spies to see what amazing place He had promised to give you that it is exactly as He said it would be. Caleb and Joshua, unlike the others, see the promise through eyes of faith not of doubt.
The report of the land and even who inhabited it should have instilled faith in the people, if they paid attention to the Word of the Lord. Faith is what inherits and faith is what possess what God desires to give.
The people chose to not believe and it leads them to grumble. They are so close, they tasted of the grapes that were brought back from the land, they heard how amazing the land is and they fail to take a step of faith and claim their inheritance. So, Deuteronomy 28:15 will become their reality. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.”
Today, people have mistaken text like this to think that maybe the bad things that have come upon them are because God is punishing them for not doing what is right. We don’t live in the Old Covenant and in Christ, Jesus is the one who qualifies us for every single blessing because He has kept all of God’s commandments. When He died for us on the cross, He not only fulfilled all of God’s commandments, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). If the curse is gone, what our inheritance in Christ is would be all of the blessings found within the Law because of the One who kept the Law perfectly for us. Jesus did not redeem us from the blessings of the law, but the curse, so the blessings are still ours today!
Joshua means “God is deliverance” and Caleb means “whole-hearted” or “loyalty”. The names of the two who believed was meant to instill faith in the people to believe the land was theirs: “God is deliverance” and “loyal” is God to deliver. Joshua and Caleb points us to Jesus. While it is true that God did lead His people to receive the Promised land because of His own faithfulness, God ultimately would deliver us from sin and death in Christ and lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven.