Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Spread of Discouragement

I always enjoy reading through the section of Numbers when the spies are sent by Moses into the land which God has promised them. Upon return from the land there is great discussion about the land. It is plain to see that it is a good land, need I mention the cluster of grapes so large they need to carry it on a pole between two people. Most of the report from the spies was good information, and told of a place where people would want to live. Yet, they see that it will not be easy to claim this land using human power. A majority of the spies see they won't be able to simply walk in and claim the space. The people who currently live in the land are big and look dangerous. So, the conclusion is that they should not go and try to claim the land. Caleb is the voice who says, we must go. God has given us this land, and we are certain to have it as our own.

The other spies, quickly passed off the possibility of the God given future, but they did not stop there. As soon as they answered Caleb, the smear campaign began. They did not discredit Caleb, no, they discredited the land that God had set aside for them. The NLT says that they spread discouraging reports among the camp. As we see later in Numbers, the discouraging report wins the day and the people wander in the wilderness for years more. Few, maybe 5 people on record, believed in the report of Caleb. A majority of the people chose to be discouraged and do nothing to change their situation. I wonder if there is a modern connection here?

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