The ways and methods of God are foreign to our way of thinking. I would be safe to say that this is in the vast majority of Gods dealings with his saints. There is a gulf as wide as heaven is from the earth in the thinking of God and our understanding of his ways. Sure, this may diminish as we grow into a oneness with him, but he will still catch us unawares, for who can know the mind of God but the Holy Spirit.
This round-about-way of an introduction leads me into the blog that I wish to share with you. The account of the twelve spies sent out to explore the land of Canaan as recorded in Numbers 13-14. This is a well known story that we have been raised on since the days of our time in Sunday school. But like many of the well known Old Testament stories they so easily become well worn over the years that we fail to discover any fresh truths that God wishes to pass onto us. At times we are like the Pharisees who read the Old Testament but failed see that the person standing in front of them was He, whom the Old Testament spoke of.
We read from verse one that God asks for a selection of men to be sent out to explore the land that he was about to give them. Moses in his wisdom chose the leaders from all the tribes – these were the elite from among the children of Israel. These twelve were the recognized collection of wisdom and maturity.
Hence the twelve go as undercover agents into the land that God is about to give them with the purpose of bringing back a comprehensive report on the 'lie' of the land. They went in thinking that they were to be spies, but God had another purpose in sending them into the land.
God was putting these twelve under his microscope; he was testing them as to their faith and trust in him. God wished to know if they trusted him enough to enable them to conquer the land. They believed that they were providing an evaluation of the land, but God was providing an evaluating on them.
God often works this way – before he moves his saints into another step of his plans he will place you in a situation that becomes a test of your loyalty. He may place a wall in front of you, or bring you to a swollen river, or ask you to cross a wilderness. Often he will bring a person across our pathway who will rub us up the wrong way. Or he will orchestrate a sudden brief calamity into your life.
What will your report be? Ten spies came back shattered and disillusioned for they saw themselves as grasshoppers. Only two, Joshua and Caleb chose to believe that God who had led them out from Egypt, through the Red sea, who had fed them and provided them with guidance, would enable these grasshopper to become supernatural grasshoppers.
Did these 12 spies not think that by spending forty days in enemy territory, as to why they had not been molested, captured or discovered? Was not God providing them with safe passage, for I am sure their enemies were not oblivious to their intentions.
As God places us under his boot camp scrutiny to test our commitment and loyalty we will either choose to trust God or tell ourselves that we are grasshoppers. Many of a disciple's ministry has been spoilt by the grasshopper mentality and they are left to wander in the spiritual wilderness until such time as God remembers them. It is a terrible dilemma to be left in the spiritual wilderness consigned to the consequences of our choice.
When we sense that something strange is happening to us; lift up your eyes to heaven and thank God for his willingness to bring us to the test for he is counting us worthy of his name. Blessed are you if you pass Gods inspection for he will open up a broad way for you, planting you on a rock. In this place beside the stream of living waters that flows from the city of God you will be a powerful witness unto him as your roots go deep into the love of God.
Faith to be faith is not our faith until it has been burned into our heart through the brand iron of Gods fiery trail, until then it is only an intellectual belief. Faith to be faith that pleases God is a faith that chooses to step out upon the waters knowing that if we sink or swim, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Faith that will overcome the world is a faith that transforms grasshoppers into supernatural grasshoppers for our trust and confidence is in a person who has loved us from the beginning of time.
When I am afraid,I will trust in you.4In God, whose word I praise,in God I trust; I will not be afraid.What can mortal man do to me? Ps 56
Good blog. The men scouted the new land for 40 days, before returning. The number 40 is frequently used symbolically in conjunction with "testing" in the Bible. The number 40 also supports your point that the men were being put to the test by God. Keep blogging. - Fig
This is such a well-written recountal of Numbers 13 & 14. I always appreciate so very much how you link these recountals to what we experience in our own lives regarding our areas of spiritual need and how you offer a "resolution." Excellent, excellent blog!
Congratulations on this your [b]250th[/b] blog! God has blessed us tremendously in this community by your writings. I want to praise Him this morning for having allowed my path to cross your's. You're a wonderful blessing to me. God bless!
I love this blog. I love to delve into the Old Testament and discover treasures like this. I always have. It is more than just merely stories and it saddens me greatly that so many Christians fail to dig into the OT. They do not seem to think it is relevant for them and they dismiss it other than for prophecies about Christ and the last days. You have beautifully illustrated that there is much to be learned from the OT that is relevant for us today.
I had never thought about how God protected those spies and you are right, they should have considered that. Also, I do not think we realize the courage it took for Joshua and Caleb to stand up against what the other spies said. They had the courage to acknowledge that though there would be enemies to fight and conquer, God would deliver the land into their hands. We need to remember this in our own lives as well.
Spoken so well.
[b]When we sense that something strange is happening to us; lift up your eyes to heaven and thank God for his willingness to bring us to the test for he is counting us worthy of his name.[b]
Hi John and congrats again.
You have unveiled another hidden treasure through your knack for applying New Testament thinking to extract the message from Old Testament writing, if I can put it that way.
Thanks for all the blogs!
God bless you,
Shared this message with our 8 year old this morning, as he was being quite defeatist about something or other.
"God was putting these twelve under his microscope; he was testing them as to their faith and trust in him. God wished to know if they trusted him enough to enable them to conquer the land. They believed that they were providing an evaluation of the land, but God was providing an evaluating on them."
It worked well because he liked reading about Joshua ... so all that remained was to explain it wasn't a fairy story. Thank you for the words!
Thank you, so much John. The OT have always contained many truths which however could be viewed more appropriately through the Spirit eye. Only self-focused fellows can't see this.
And, I would also say, I love your way of seeing into God's mysteries. Keep on with the draw from His well of mysteries.
I loved everything about this writing! And yes I've heard that story a LOT! But I'm glad that you pointed out how can wants to test out faith and I believe it's so we can and will depend on Him. So much you said I loved! Great insight!
It also recalled to me today, as I remembered this wonderful blog, that with the two men obeying Him and also trusting Him, He used them to accomplish His purpose. Caleb and Joshua also signify that God can use just few men to destroy a whole enemy troop. It's also true in His army.
Example is Jonathan and his servant.