Estimated reading time: 2 minutes:-)
Today, I read a Bible story I hadn’t read before (although I’ve watched it in Veggie Tales as a kid). And I was astounded at how significant it is, how much we can glean from it today, how little it is talked about.
I’m talking about Numbers 13 and 14. Moses and Aaron send a group of people out into Canaan to explore the land before they settle there to see if the land is suitable for them. They are told to bring back fruit, stay out for forty days, and observe the people in that region. When they return, they give their reports.
At first, the majority of the explorers agree that the land is great, “flowing with milk and honey,” but they also admit there are fierce rivals in the area. Caleb suggests trying to conquer the land anyway, but the explorers object.
“‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.” ~ Numbers 13:31-32.
This bad report caused unrest. The Israelites became angry with Moses and Aaron, even angry at God for leading them so far only to a dead end. They even wish they had been left for dead in Egypt; that is how significant their grumbling becomes.
But listen to what happens next:
“Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
After this, the assembly still doesn’t believe him, and God’s glory appears. He reprimands the Israelites, and although he forgives their unfaithfulness, he makes a promise to never let a single on of them into the promised land, only their children.
All except Caleb and Joshua, who brought good reports.
All except Caleb and Joshua, who knew God was more powerful than any enemy to come.
An even more chilling thing happens later in the story: the explorers are stricken with disease and all of those who gave bad reports previously die, but Caleb and Joshua are spared.
In a seemingly hopeless situation, Caleb and Joshua believed in God’s promises and power, and brought a good report regardless of the circumstances.
Now, I don’t want to take scripture out of context and apply it to my own life constantly. I don’t want to view this story with Western eyes and skew it’s truth. But when I read this story, I was encouraged. I was encouraged to bring a good report, too, regardless of the circumstances.
Separate from the story we just discussed, I know this week was a tough one for our country. I lost sleep this week from all the current events. I find myself becoming more and more stressed about the future, more and more worried. But why?
And I realized, as time drags on and circumstances keep getting worse for the United States, I keep bringing bad reports to God.
I keep talking to him about all the trouble in this world, all the evil. How I don’t know if I can take another lock down. How I’m terrified of the next few months. How I have no idea how God’s love is going to rule this.
And it is okay to cast all our anxieties on him. But when we dwell on them so much that we start to lose faith in our God, our anxieties have gotten the better of us. And we’ve begun to bring the bad report.
Our country is in turmoil. Political parties are polarized, corruption infests politics, violence is no longer surprising on the news, and the news can’t even be trusted. This week, I’ve felt pretty hopeless about the future of this country.
But regardless of the circumstances, I hope, Lord willing, that I can bring a good report.
Our God is bigger than all violence, all the confusion, all the corruption and lies and deception. He is bigger than the president, the capitol, the nation. His love still rules this. And he is still in control.
So I will choose to report on God’s faithfulness, not his apparent yet none-existent shortcomings.
I want to be like Caleb and Joshua, who brought back a good report of Canaan and believed their God would remain faithful to his promises.
I want to trust God’s faithfulness even in this chaos. He is good, he was good, and he will continue to be good. And that is my report.