SPIES LIKE US - Elevation Theme 2018
6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear
them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones.—Numbers 14:6-10
After hundreds of years, most of them as slaves, the tribe of Abraham emerged ready to become a nation. Well, almost ready. As they stood at the edge of the Promised Land they sent 12 spies to go check it out. They came back with beautiful fruit and marvelous stories of the land that was just laying across the Jordan River. However, they saw the inhabitants of the land and said (my paraphrase), “They are too big… too strong… no way!” So, they lied. They skewed their report of the land. All of them except for two; Joshua and Caleb. These two brave guys stood up to everyone and said (my paraphrase again), “We got this! This place is amazing and the Lord in on our side.” They were met with threats of stoning by the people!
Somehow in a mere two years during which the Lord delivered them from the hand of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and fed them with quail and manna, led them by fire, gave them water from a rock, the tabernacle, a glowing Moses, and the 10 commandments only 3 (inducing Moses) could sense the Lord’s leading. For their lack of faith, they earned 38 years more wandering in the wilderness as God crafted and formed them into a people that would trust His guidance.
The two questions I wonder about is: Why wasn’t two enough? How could they miss this opportunity laying at their feet? I quite often ponder these two same questions in our individual lives and in our life together as the Church. So, often we have voices crying out and pointing saying, “Look, over here, the Lord is preparing to move!” or even, “the Lord is already ON the move.” Yet, so often we ignore these pleas because all we can hear are the voices saying, “No, it’s too big, they are too strong, you have so much other stuff to do, or it’s not the way we’ve always done it.”
Who knows, maybe the Israelites after two years had reverted back to a tribe type mentality (always on the move) to the point where most of them couldn’t even fathom themselves as a nation. Maybe we get caught up in the same tendencies stuck in a routine and can’t fathom what it would look like to follow the Lord into uncharted territories.
Especially, when the voices paint a picture of doom and gloom. Voices that say, “Oh if you miss that ______ (insert whatever) camp you’ll never _______ (insert random punishment),” or “No! It’s not good to be vulnerable in a small group, that’s a sign of weakness. Don’t go! You have too much work to do anyway.” So, instead, we miss the opportunity to commune with the Lord, break His kingdom into this world, and/or miss the opportunity minister to others.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be spies like Joshua and Caleb. Spies willing to sift through the voices to find the call of the Lord. Spies willing to set aside cultural expectations and routines to jump in where fruit is blossoming and the harvest is ripe, which is always a mark of the Lord’s presence. In the ministries and work of Armstrong Chapel and the
broader church around us, the Lord is on the move. The Lord is setting in front of us glorious opportunities to experience Him and new ways to ring about His kingdom! Don’t let your ears tune Him out because the masses of the culture of the world or the culture of the old ways are drowning Him out.