Devotional: ‘Do We See Obstacles or Opportunities?’

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As many of you know, my life verse is Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” The word ‘impossible’ refers to a lack of strength or ability. This verse tells us that we have no ability to please God unless we do so by faith. Perhaps no portion of Scripture illustrates this better than passage we will study this week.

Numbers 13:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, everyone a leader among them.” 3 So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.

According to Deuteronomy 1:22-23, it was not God who initiated the sending out of the spies. It was the people. The people came to Moses and requested that he send out spies to investigate the land in order to bring back a report on what it was like. God consented to their request because He was going to use this as a test of their faith.

Numbers 13:17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, 18 and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; 19 whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; 20 whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.

Moses instructed the spies to investigate the land completely. “Look and see what the land is like. Is it a good land as God has said, or is it a bad land? Examine the cities and take notice of the people who are living there. Are they living in camps or are they living in strongholds? Then bring back evidence of what you find.”

God knew that the spies would find two things: obstacles and opportunities. As far as opportunities go, they were going to find a land that was filled with fruit and forests. As far as obstacles go, they were going to find great walled cities with enemies securely behind them. It is easy to understand why God wanted them to see the opportunities, but why did He want them to see the obstacles? God was going to use the obstacles as a way of testing their faith. Would they be faithful to move forward and claim the land that He had promised, or would they be faithless and turn away? If you are a student of the Bible, you already know the answer to these questions. Only two men out of a nation of nearly 2 1/2 million would ever live in the Promised Land. 

What about us today? Do we have enough faith in God to believe that He will help us claim what He has promised, or are we like the unbelieving children of Israel who were made to spend the rest of their lives wandering in unbelief? I pray that this week’s study will be both a challenge and an encouragement to us to trust God and to claim His promises.

Join me again tomorrow as we continue our study. God bless you brethren.

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