Here’s the story of the spies sent into Canaan. It was time for the people to occupy the Promised Land. How certain was their victory! How sure was the outcome! God had promised and, as always, God would fulfill his promise. The people would know this for they had seen God faithfully provide for them time after time. And, oh, what a land it was! The report: “It flows with milk and honey” (13:27). But the spies also saw some big, bad men in the land, and they (well, ten of them) were afraid and lacking in faith. And, rather than following the faithful report of Joshua and Caleb (more on them, later), the people agreed with the majority report: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are” (13:31). Well, yeah! But, as Joshua put it to the people, “the Lord is with us” (14:9).
The consequences of the people’s lack of faith were enormous. They would now wander in the wilderness for decades. The current generation would die there and not be able to enter the land. There will be a generation that enters and that makes offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord, but not this generation. How we need to know God’s promises and believe them! To us, Paul writes, “God is ever true to His promises, and it was by Him that you were, one and all, called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).
O come over into Canaan, Leave the wilderness behind;
Where so long your soul has wandered, Where no rest your heart can find;
Only venture into Jordan, And its swelling shall divide;
He will hold back all that threatens, Till you’ve reached the Canaan side.
O come over into Canaan, Leave the wilderness behind,
Come and trust His loving promise,
Come and full salvation find. –Emily Chadwick (1902)