The judgment on the Israelites for their fear and disobedience in regards to entering the promised land was that they’d wander in the desert for forty years. No one of that generation would see that abundant land, none but Caleb and Joshua. Instead it would be for the next generation to take possession of it for themselves. We read through this wandering in the second half of Numbers, watching how the old guard makes way for the new.
This may be a bit of review of last week, but this question came to mind this morning in a small group Bible study I’m in: What would you have said to the people to convince them to follow God and go into the promised land? If you were Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who trusted God’s provision, what would you have said to the people? How could you have tried to help Israel avoid the wandering we see in this week’s readings?
I think the way we answer that will also help us to know how to speak to fear in our own lives. How do we encourage trust in God in the face of fear? How do we follow when the road seems hard? These are the questions for Israel, and they are questions for today. I’d love to hear in the comments or via email what you would say if you were Caleb or Joshua.