Fear vs. Faith (Numbers 13:21-14:9)

150609_fear faithThese past few weeks, we've been looking at the journey of the Israelites after being rescued from Egypt by the Lord God. We saw that right after the dramatic and miraculous escape, the people were led very clearly by a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud (Numbers 9). God led them to the base of Mt. Sinai for close to year, where Moses received the Law and they built the Tabernacle. We saw next that from the very start of the journey, the people complained (Numbers 11). We learned that they had a complaining spirit because they questioned God's love and care for them, they discounted God's power to provide and they did not trust God's purpose and plan for them.

And today they have made it to the very edge of the Promised Land! In Numbers 13:1, the Lord tells Moses to send 12 men to explore the land, which they do for forty days. Afterwards, in Numbers 13:26-27 the men return back to the Israelite community. Their report is that the land is good BUT...

Ten of the men only fix their eyes on the bad: the people who inhabit the land are stronger and bigger than we are. That's it. Forget it. Let's go back to Egypt.

After an astounding rescue from Egypt and two years of faithfully following God to their destination (notwithstanding the complaining), what does the community of God's people do? Actually it might be better to point out what they DON'T do - they don't pray or cry out to God for help, instead Numbers 14:2-3 reads, "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, 'If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?...Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?'"

Ouch. Two years of seeing firsthand God's power, provision and presence and their fear swallows their faith in heartbeat.

Except for four valiant souls: Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb. Four versus more than 600,000  fearful men, women and children. But the four are steadfast in their faith: "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." (Numbers 14:8-9)

Fear is focusing on the obstacles whereas faith is focusing on the One who can overcome the obstacles. So which side are you on? In the battle between fear vs. faith, where will you stand?