The Book of Numbers tells us the story of Israel’s discovery of the “promised land.” God instructed Moses to send some men to explore the land of Canaan with this promise in mind. “This is the land I am giving to you,” God said.
Every promise of God is backed by His integrity, character, abilities, provision, and reputation. That should have been enough for the 12 “spies” chosen by Moses to check out the new land! It was promised as “a land flowing with milk and honey,” a metaphor meaning blessing and overflowing abundance. There was fruit for the picking in this land, and the spies carried home bunches of grapes as proof. They tasted the abundance and brought some back to the community. It really was just as the Lord had promised.
Now we come to the spies’ misunderstanding. “We expected the milk and honey — because we knew our God — but we did not expect potential resistance, fortified cities, and intimidating giants!”
For the Israeli spies, paranoia took over at this point. The problems appeared bigger and the solution got smaller. “These giants were so big we were like grasshoppers!” This is of course ridiculous. Have you ever stood alongside a grasshopper? It’s a tiny insect! Realistically, the Nephilim giants were probably twice the size of the Israelites. The Israelites were a long way from grasshopper size, except in their own minds.
The great misunderstanding of God is that His promises are unconditional. But they are not. They come only with our participation. It should have been enough for God to say, “I am giving it to you.” But it wasn’t. You could argue that it would have been better for God to warn them of the possible challenges — but He didn’t.
“I was not expecting all these difficulties,” we cry when the promises of God are hard-won. Realistically we don’t see that there are going to be battles for the promises. We are only human, and unless God opens up the future through revelation, we can’t see what is coming.
Peter wrote to the believers, “Don’t consider it strange concerning the fiery trials that have come upon you.”
The great misunderstanding of God is that His promises are unconditional. But they are not. They come only with our participation.
It’s not unusual to face giants in life even when we are in the center of God’s will. As always, God’s promises are and should be, enough. God’s presence with us, just as He was with the Israelite army in all their battles for the promised land, is all we really need.
With the promise and presence of God with us, should it matter what seeming impossibilities lay before us? Behind all His promises are His integrity, character ability, provision, and reputation. I think that should be enough.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” We may be in a battle for our “promised land,” but let’s keep going. The promises of God are conditional upon our fighting every single battle He has placed in front of us. And we are not grasshoppers. We will win!
Are you close to your “promised land”, but stuck with the giants that come before the final victory? Are you surprised that you have to fight to drive them out of your territory? Have you lost hope that you can overcome your trials?
1 Peter 4:12, Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Reading Plan: Genesis 1-7
Heavenly Father, help me to enter my promised land of abundance even if I have to fight for it. When I feel like giving up, I pray that I will remember you are near. I know that the battle is yours. Help me to hope again, to believe that I am not a grasshopper, that your promises are true, and what you have promised me I will have if I faithfully fight the good fight.
Don’t give up! Remember who God is — his integrity, his character, his provision, and reputation. He will surely not fail. Keep on going — your promised land is here! Drive out the giants!