“All the great blessings of my life are present in my thoughts today.”
Yesterday, we reviewed, in the life of Moses and how God nurtures the soil of our lives, as He readies us by filling up the empty places for the glorious purpose He has designed for us individually.
Today, we are going to travel further with Moses, as he and thousands of Israelites crossed the barren desert toward their destination — a land they had been told “flowed with milk and honey.” Now that sounds pretty sweet to me!
About this time in the journey, the book of Numbers records a conversation in which God instructed Moses to send spies into the “Promised Land,” Canaan, and to bring back a report of what they found.
Here is what God asked of the spies – twelve representatives from each of the tribes of Israel. This is how it reads in Numbers 13: 17-20:
“Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: and see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not” (King James Version).
Let’s review. God instructed Moses to send spies to explore the unknown land, rumored to be flowing with “milk and honey.” That’s not all, He sent these spies out right at “harvest-time.” Then He told Moses to remember that no matter what challenges they found in the new country, not to lose their courage…their faith…or their boldness for He would be with them – the “Pillar” was coming along to lead and protect.
What happened? The twelve spies did as they were told. They surveyed the country and when they got to the brook of Eschol, they cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes that took two men to carry it. Imagine a bunch of grapes that large. That wasn’t all. They also came back to camp loaded down with pomegranates and figs. It took forty days for this expedition to be completed.
When the spies returned the first thing they did when they reported to camp was show off the bounty they brought with them. Then they said to Moses, “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey” (Numbers 13: 27, King James Version). Confirmation that rumors were true!
They should have taken a breath, closed their mouths, and stopped talking right then and there. But they didn’t!
The next word spoken is a sad one, “Nevertheless!” In spite of the bounty awaiting them…in spite of the most plentiful harvest they had ever seen – all they could think about was that the people in Canaan were strong and big; the cities were great and walled; and the children of Anak, the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites all lived there. And it scared them. Oops! I think somebody forgot that the “Pillar” was on their side.
The next few verses are such a terrible commentary on what happens when God fills us up with a bountiful harvest and we not only are unappreciative…we also forget that He is the “giver of all good gifts.”
I want to understand what God is saying to me in this story because for each of us who have ever felt an emptiness in our lives – this story has a lesson we need to take to heart.
The children of Israel “hoped” for a new life in the Promised Land so they “accepted” God’s will. They “praised” Him for being their Deliverer. They followed His lead but just as they were ready to reap the blessings He had promised – they lost their faith…they didn’t trust Him…their courage took flight because there were obstacles in their way. Don’t forget – God had promised He would take care of all the obstacles!
So today, if you are “hoping” for that empty spot to be filled, then “accept” God’s will for your life, “praise” Him for what He is doing even when you don’t see it or feel it, follow His lead and then take the bounty…reap the harvest! Ignore the naysayers who think it is impossible for God to solve your problem. Turn your eyes away from the giants in the land. Instead, keep your focus on the “Pillar” who Guides you day and night. What bounty awaits! What a harvest of joy you will reap!
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said…’The Lord has done great things for (her.)'”
Psalm 126: 2
New International Version