By Pastor Gary Beck | March 14, 2020
Shammua, Shaphat and ten others had a chance of a lifetime: to go exploring in the land of milk and honey God had promised to the descendants of Jacob. Their instructions from Moses were to
1. Go north through the Negev into the hill country
2. See what the land was like
3. Find out whether the people were strong or weak, many or few
4. What kind of land, good or bad
5. Do their towns have walls or are they open camps
6. Is the soil fertile or poor
7. Are there many trees
8. Bring back samples of the crops they saw
Then they made the mistake of their lives: they added their assessment.
After forty days of exploring they came back and reported to Moses and the people who were eagerly waiting. They had accomplished their mission. They had a good report. They called it a beautiful country flowing with milk and honey. But then they made the mistake of their lives. They added their assessment. They thought they should give their opinion of the viability of success. God had already proved again and again his power, yet ten of these explorers could only think of themselves. They were so short-sighted that they could only evaluate success by their own strength. Only Caleb and Joshua could look beyond themselves and recognize the leading and power of God.
Aren’t we just as guilty sometimes, when someone catches a vision of evangelism and reads the mission and purpose of our church? They get excited, they explore the possibilities and they come to the church with a report and tell of the wonderful things that could happen. Then some others, even those who have also read the wonderful things God has planned for His people, look at themselves and their own track record and decide that it can not be done successfully. The giants will eat them up. (Who?) It will take too much time (What?) It’s not possible with our resources. (Oh my!)
Don’t we come to church and worship the Creator God week after week? Don’t we admire all His recorded actions in Scripture? Don’t we love to tell of His power and miracles? Yet somehow, we look to ourselves for strength when we try to do what He asks us to do.
Negative reports seem to get much more attention than positive, encouraging reports from a people used to being slaves (of sin). They know they can’t defeat the enemy because they still have the slave mentality. They have succumbed to the lie that they have no access to God and His power. So, whatever happened to Shammua, Shaphat and the other eight who insisted on giving their opinions of success on God’s promises? They were destroyed and their entire generation spent the rest of their lives going nowhere.
This generation has another opportunity to trust in God’s power to conquer sin and move into the land flowing with milk and honey. Can we see the power of God or are we still looking to ourselves for the strength to overcome? We are sitting on the borders of eternity. Will it be your opinion? Or God’s promise of power?
Pastor Gary Beck