In Numbers 13 the people of Israel find themselves on the edge of the Promised Land, and it is exactly as God had told them. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. The story of how they got here is miraculous; from the plagues in Egypt to the crossing of the Red Sea, being provided food each day, and being led by a pillar of cloud by day or fire by night.
Yet despite all that God has done, the people grumble. It’s not the first time. In fact, they always seem to complain about what they have, what they used to have, or what they do not have.
In contrast two people stand out. Joshua and Caleb. They were part of the twelve sent to spy out the land and bring back a report. When everyone else complains, they provide a very different perspective. Tearing their clothes they stood in front of their fellow Israelites and said,
‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.’
In light of this you may have heard a message on how big is your God, and that we just need to trust God. This is true. I would encourage you to trust God. But there is something about the attitude of the fellow Israelites that seems to bother Joshua and Caleb. It’s this. “Only do not rebel against the Lord’. To rebel or go against God is not simply doing what we know we should not do, but it is failing to do what God has called us to do. He has led this people, provided for them, everything he has said has come true, and still they won’t trust.
The story of the spies reminds us to stop doubting God. His faithfulness in the past should be cause for confidence for the next step. Rather than letting challenges and circumstances overwhelm us, trust God. In fact, it seems the expectation of God is that we should trust, and failure to trust is to rebel.