“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong and the cities are fortified and very large … We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are … The land through which we have gone to spy is a land that devours its inhabitants and all the people we saw in it are of great height … We seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
The negative spies knew God was all-powerful. They had experienced His miraculous deliverance when they left Egypt. They had watched the Red Sea part and they had witnessed the Egyptian army swept away by the waters.
So why did they suddenly insist entering the Promised Land was impossible?
What if the spies were less afraid of the giants in the Promised Land than they were about possessing the land itself? What if they were less afraid of defeat than they were of victory?
Think about it. The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness where God provided their every need. You need a drink? Water gushes from a rock. You need a meal? Manna falls from the sky. Cold at night? God provides a fire. Hot during the day? God provides a cloud. Walking long distances? God gives you shoes that never wear out.
But what would life be like in the Promised Land?
In the Promised Land they would have to plough the ground, plant seeds, harvest crops, build houses, create an economy, secure borders and so on. In other words, they would have to do what responsible nation states do.
Did the negative spies reason that it was preferable to escape responsibility by remaining in the wilderness as victims?
Some people want to live an escapist life, isolated from everyday responsibilities. They calculate that it is easier, and even preferable, to live in sub-standard conditions and rely on miracles (or the benevolence of others) than to accept the responsibility to grow up and be who God has called them to be.
God has great promises for us and those promises will always lead us to places of greater personal responsibility – wherein more is required from us and more is expected from us.
Are you really afraid that things won’t work out? Or are you secretly afraid that they will?