Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
But the men who went up with him said, ‘We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’Numbers 13:31 (The Complete Jewish Bible; emphasis mine)
I want to show you the way this verse looks in Hebrew:
וְהָ֨אֲנָשִׁ֜ים אֲשֶׁר־עָל֤וּ עִמּוֹ֙ אָֽמְר֔וּ לֹ֥א נוּכַ֖ל לַֽעֲל֣וֹת
אֶל־הָעָ֑ם כִּֽי־חָזָ֥ק ה֖וּא מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
For the sake of today’s post, the most important part of this verse is what I have emphasized in bold. In the English version, it is the word we. In the Hebrew version, it is also the word we (מִמֶּֽנּוּ)… except that word isn’t we. That word is actually Him.
Numbers 13:31 should actually read in English as follows: “But the men who went up with him said, ‘We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than Him.’
Numbers 13 is the recounting of the 12 spies who return after 40 days of spying on the Promised Land. This is the spy mission right after God leads Israel out of Egypt. As the story goes, 10 Israelite spies reported a BAD report to the Israelites while 2 men — Caleb and Joshua — desperately refuted everything the 10 were saying.
Here is what the 10 spies reported to the ENTIRE Israelite congregation:
- The land is flowing with milk and honey
- The fruit is HUGE
- HOWEVER, the people are mighty and their cities are HUGE and fortified
- We saw the offspring of giants
- The Amalekites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live there
At this point, Caleb interjects and states, “We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it.”
But the 10 spies conclude with this fatalistic perspective: Our God (HIM) is not stronger than ALL the -ites and giants. We cannot defeat these people. If you know the story, you know God gets MAD and the consequence for this BAD report is that none of the Israelites, except Caleb and Joshua, are allowed into the Promise Land and ALL of them will wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
So what’s my point?
It’s all about perspective.
Caleb believed with absolute surety that GOD was, is, and always will be stronger than any force this earth could or can produce. When he went to the Promised Land, Caleb saw God’s promises to the Israelites. He saw future homes, food, lands to explore, water, etc. He saw GOODNESS. But what did the 10 see? They saw FEAR, DEATH, ANXIETY, FAILURE. They also illustrate that they 100% did NOT trust in God.
And what was the truth? What did God know? Why did He want them to trust Him as Caleb did? Because God knew how those “scary” -ites and giants felt about Him and the Israelites. In Joshua 2:9-11 Rahab says to the two spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you completely destroyed. And as soon as we heard, our hearts melted, nor did there remain anymore spirit in any man because of you, for the Lord your God He is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
The -ites and giants were SO scared of God and the Israelites, their hearts melted with fear. But the original 10 spies couldn’t see the fear of others because their own fear blinded them. And, they allowed their fear to infiltrate the hearts of the entire Israelite congregation. What did this fear get them? Death in a wilderness. Did they have anything to fear? Nope, not with God by their side.
I don’t know about you, but this definitely makes me stop and consider how I’m perceiving things today. No matter how scary it gets or looks, I have to remember that God is BIGGER than anything this earth can or will produce.