“So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ “ – Numbers 13:32-33 (ESV)
Yesterday’s Scripture reference is being used again today. I wanted you to get the context of the passage and to note the phrasing.
Here’s the context. Moses sent 12 spies (one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel) to spy out the land God had promised (aka “The Promised Land”). They also were to do some other things as per Moses’ instructions and then bring back a report. They went, they saw, and they returned with the report.
The only thing is that they saw the occupants of the land and 10 of the spies commented on the size of the people. Their comments were considered a “bad report” because they allowed fear to control them. They had forgotten that God had promised this land to them and they had nothing to fear regarding man. A healthy dose of respect and belief in God’s promise might have changed the course of history for them and those they swayed to fear along with them.
Only two gave a positive report (filled with reminders of God’s promise toward them). Those two guys were Joshua and Caleb. They would live to see the Promised Land. The 10 who gave the bad report and all those whom they swayed to believe the fear over God’s promise would die out before entering the land. For years they would wander around until everybody over 20, except Joshua and Caleb, died.
Look at the end of the verses at the top. Notice anything interesting? Not only did they see the inhabitants of that land as giants, but they say themselves as grasshoppers in their own eyes and perceived that the ones whom they were spying on saw that in them, as well. They were defeating themselves! Those giant inhabitants didn’t have to worry about duking it out with them. These 10 were already scared, intimidated, hopeless, worried, and defeated. When they returned to their own people and gave the report, they convinced the mob (those over 20, except Joshua and Caleb) of this hopeless state. Millions of people believed the bad report and bought into the fear of man.
This did not please God and He punished them for their unbelief in His Word, their unbelief in Him.
Now, if you’re a parent, put yourself into the sandals of the spies. You are surveying the land of parenthood (play groups, mothers morning out programs, preschool education, school friends, peer parents, school setting, teacher assignments, after school extracurricular activities, neighborhood friends, computer social networks, cell phones, potential relationships with the opposite sex, driving, college choices, independence training for independent living, marriage, etc.). Blink! Can you believe how fast that list of major influences clicked by as you read it? You’ll face all of that over your parenting span!
There is nothing worse than investigating in a healthy manner the situations and circumstances your child may face through various stages of development and then walking away from the reality with your hands up in surrender. What would cause you to surrender to something? Fear. You fear circumstances that cause you to give up or give in rather than to be prompted to form a plan of attack. A plan of attack would allow you to face the giants and defeat them as you walk into your promised land of parenthood with a godly confidence that God is leading the charge into the battle and won’t leave you stranded. You give in because you’d rather bury your head in the sand and believe that ignorance is bliss.
Come back tomorrow. There is more to come as we spy out the land of parenthood and formulate a plan of attack to defeat the giants that would convince us of running away from this God-given responsibility.