There were giants in the land.
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 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.
What? This is the Promised Land? It was like a minefield! There were enemies everywhere. The Amalekites would be the welcoming committee, and Israel had enjoyed their delightful company before! (Exodus 17:8-13) The Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites were in the mountains and the Canaanites lived to the east and west. They would be surrounded. Entering this land would be dangerous and possession would be impossible. All but two of the spies were scared to death! They saw themselves totally unequal to the task.
I get it. I feel the same way. Unequal to the task.
I mean, I want faith like Caleb and Joshua. I really do. But at this very moment, I can’t seem to maintain more than a nanosecond of bravery. These days my faith vascillates and more often than not, I am hit with overwhelming, sometimes crippling, fear.
A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and six months later, chronic Lyme’s disease. Both of these conditions rear their heads almost daily. My joints throb and there are days when I can’t get off the couch. But of all the symptoms, the one that is most debilitatiing is my allergies to certain chemicals. It’s like doing battle with an invisible enemy. I never know when or where they are coming after me. And when they do, my heart starts to race, I can't think clearly and I get short of breath.
Recently I’ve noticed that I’m constantly policing my environment. I’m always on the lookout for a potential offender because the reaction is so uncomfortable. It is physically and emotionally draining.
I can’t imagine living the rest of my life this way. The thought of it makes me panic.
I am like the 10 spies.
I feel small. Powerless. Defeated.
And yet, God says “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness”. (2 Peter 1:3)
So which is it? Is victory really possible?
Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
They are passing over. Into Canaan. A lot happened between Numbers 13 and Joshua 4, but God faithfully brought His people into the land He promised them.
It was not easy. There were more battles that followed. But as Israel obeyed God, He delivered them. One battle at a time.
I believe it is the same for us on this side of the cross. Our battles might be hard won, but they are won--- in little victories. Day by day. Perhaps moment by moment.
I have a dear friend who is a recovering alcoholic. He told me once that in the beginning of his sobriety, he couldn’t imagine being sober the rest of his life. The thought of it was overwhelming, but he could go without drinking until the next AA meeting. He went to several meetings a day at first until one day it was only one a week. He’s been sober 21 years.
I am praying for Joshua-size faith and to take it one battle at a time.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB
(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)
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