“See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees…?” Numbers 13:18-20.
As the Israelites approached the borders of the Promised Land, they were unaware that God was setting their qualifying exams for them. And the examination was to separate the overcomers from the under-achievers. The Lord was about to make a separation between those who would languish in the wilderness and those who would move in to possess the Promised Land.
Moses sent out twelve of Israel’s men to do the assessment of the land. They were to assess the obstacles that would confront them when they finally entered the land. The point was that they were not to ignore the realities on ground, but appraise the actual situation as they saw it. They were to assess the quality of life in Canaan.
The men spent almost 6 weeks exploring the land. All of Israel, waited at the edge of the wilderness as the men did their reconnaissance. There was great anticipation of what God had in store for them. 40 days later, they returned and compiled their report. It was in two volumes. ‘Volume 1’ represented the facts and ‘Volume 2’ was their interpretations of the facts.
As far as the facts were concerned, all the spies were in agreement. The facts represented the reality. But when it came to interpretation, Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, had their own take. They said, “Let us go immediately and take possession of the land. We can do it”. The other ten men said, “Oh no, that would be suicidal. We saw giants in the land. We won’t be able to take them on. It would pose too much of a fatal risk”.
To further buttress their argument, they volunteered another piece of information. They said, “We really felt small during the exploration. We felt like grasshoppers and even the inhabitants of the land also thought we were grasshoppers!”
It is one thing to have a perception of your own situation. But who told them the giants in Canaan thought they were grasshoppers? Did they ask them? Spies were sent out secretly. Did they conduct an opinion poll?
When the two versions were presented to the congregation, Joshua and Caleb were possibly waiting for the people to ask each party to defend their own interpretation. They were expecting a discussion on the basis for arriving at two different conclusions. Instead the congregation immediately took sides with the ten and adopted a negative and faulty report.
WHOSE REPORT WILL YOU BELIEVE?
Joshua and Caleb called the analysis of the ten men a rebellion. The crowd in turn wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb for their different perspective. It was at this point God decided that the entire nation would roam around the wilderness until they all dropped dead, as their punishment for believing the negative interpretation of the facts.
How am I interpreting the facts around me? My interpretation will determine the outcome of the examination.
♬ While I am waiting by Travis Greene