Since the beginning of 2016, our church has been journeying through the Bible with the F260 reading plan. We recently landed in Numbers Chapter 13 and 14—the account of the 12 Israelite spies sent to scout the land promised them by Almighty God; the same God who had delivered them from the bondage and slavery of Egypt and faithfully provided their every need for their every step in the harsh wilderness.
I was familiar with the story. These 12 men found exactly what God had promised they would find. Milk. Honey. Lush pastures. Healthy livestock. Grapes so large it took a group effort to carry a single cluster. But 10 saw something more.
With vision clouded by their fear and doubt, forgetting the strength of the God leading them, they saw the obstacles. There were giants in the land.
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
Only two men–Caleb and Joshua–the overwhelming minority, chose faith:
“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.” Numbers 13:30
“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 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. 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.” Numbers 14:8-9
While this passage has been familiar to me in the past–with it’s messages of how we must trust God to fight our battles, how we must walk by faith and not sight—the beauty of God’s Word is that is alive and active, fresh for every season. As I read it this year, as a mom, the application that most resonated with me is LEGACY.
I noticed that in their fear and mob mentality, one of Israel’s greatest reservations for trusting God was the well-being of their families. Look at their response to the negative reports:
“And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” Numbers 14:2-4
They are basically shouting, “This plan that God has executed is not the best option for my children! God’s leadership is going to cost them something I am not willing to pay. My plan to stay in Egypt is healthier and more fruitful for their future. My fear will save them from the sword.”
It sounds extreme, but don’t we have tendency to do the same thing? If we are not careful, we can naturally gravitate towards a legacy of fear.
“I don’t want to obey God if it means moving my family. This isn’t the plan I had for my child. These spiritual battles we are facing are too hard. They are hurting my child. Maybe serving God isn’t worth it. My plans are better than God’s plans. My plan, my protection—my fear–will save them from harm.”
But what is our refusal to follow God, our inability to trust Him, our legacy of fear costing our children?
I can tell you from this same passage. We know that this whole generation of Israel was prohibited by God to enter into the land because of their fear. We do know that their children were eventually able to enter–but without their parents and not without added decades of hard wilderness wandering. Even so, our gracious God was faithful to bring them in:
“But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected.” Numbers 14:31
But furthermore, we see that God richly rewards a legacy of FAITH by looking at Caleb, and God’s response to His courage:
“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.” Numbers 14:24
I love the way author and speaker Lisa Brevere says it, “You can choose your fears for your children or you can choose God’s promises.” There is no room for both.
Dad, Mom–God has strategically entrusted your children to you. Your calling is also their calling and the perfect preparation for their spiritual work as adults. He may be calling you to hard places. He may be asking you to fight battles that are only won in the supernatural realm. He may be asking you to look past those giants to those giant grapes and your giant God.
Only you can make the choice:
FEAR or FAITH.