Our walk with the Lord always leads us to a moment of crisis, requiring an exercise of faith. This means that our New Life experience requires belief and action. It is important then that we expect moments where we come to realize our complete lack of power; moments where our attention is directed toward the supernatural power of God to perform what only He can do. Herein He is to be glorified.
Do we actively trust the Lord our God to fulfill His promises, or do we trust our own abilities to accomplish God’s plan for our lives? This is the chief question we see the Israelites confronted with in our text verses. There’s no doubt that God is a God of purpose, and that He is more than able to perform His purpose. Also, He is ever-so faithful to bring to pass that which He has spoken.
It is true that every Child of Grace readily confesses these truths. But genuine faith – that which is born of God – requires the active reliance upon the Lord as our Strength; it requires our coming to a position of rest in Him and what He can do, as opposed to what we cannot do. Who we trust when faced with giant-sized obstacles, trials, or situations is in accordance with our perspectives.
God had long-ago promised to give the Land of Canaan to the descendents of Abraham as an everlasting possession (Genesis 12:7); this promise was later confirmed to the Children of Israel when God delivered them from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 6:8). He had brought them out of every trial; He’d brought them through every storm; He’d set their feet upon a solid Rock; He’d given them everything that they needed to live a life of victory as they walked in obedience to Him; and He had promised to do even more.
But then we see the Israelites as they come to the bank of the Jordan River – nothing to separate them from the promises of God but a river. Had not the Lord their God been ever-so gracious; had He not shown Himself to be all-powerful – even doing supernatural things in delivering the Israelites from Egypt? He most certainly had! So, where is the trust that such acts should inspire? Why didn’t the Israelites believe that God was able and willing to do exceeding abundantly above all they could ask or think, in order to fulfill His promises? Because the Israelites had the wrong perspectives.
In our text verses, we can see the Israelite spies after their survey of the promised land as they extol the glory of the land God had promised: “…surely it floweth with milk and honey…” (Numbers 13:27). But then they start to enumerate the various reasons why they could not have the blessing that God had promised to them: the people are too strong for us; the cities are too well-defended for us; we can’t take it; it’s just too hard for us; it’s just too much; we can’t do it.
The only thing the Children of Israel could see was the negative aspect of their situation. Their knowledge of their human weaknesses and the downward pull of human nature caused them to see only defeat. Even as Caleb tried to encourage the Israelites (verse 30), the spies finally began to disdain the land itself (verse 32)! An important thing is revealed in verse 33 about the perspective of the Israelites:
“…and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:33)
The problem we see here is that the Israelites had a knowledge of God’s promise and His power, but that they were not looking for Him to make the necessary provision in order to fulfill His promise. Thinking that God was relying on them to fulfill His promise, they were not looking to Him at all, but were only assessing the situation from their own viewpoint. This is clear from their report, “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers.” Accordingly, they could not see themselves as being victorious.
Child of God, when we find ourselves facing our own giant-sized difficulty, do we actively rely upon the Lord our God to give us the victory He has promised? Are we looking at the problem and ignoring the Solution? Are we judging the situation from our own powerlessness – or are we looking to God as the all-powerful Sovereign that He is? Whether or not we experience the victory that Christ has so graciously provided us with, is a choice we each have to make.
Your choice will depend upon your perspective.