“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are” (Numbers 13:31)
Loss of vision is an unfortunate disability. Though there is no cure and disadvantages exist, many advances allow people with blindness to get along well in today’s society. Spiritual blindness is different. People who are spiritually blind may have perfect eyesight, but are blind to the ways of God. Such was the case for the majority of the spies that Moses sent into Canaan to spy out the land and report back on what they saw. In all, twelve spies went in. When the LORD told Moses to send the spies, He said, it is, “a land which I am giving to the people of Israel.” This gift of land was a fulfillment of a promise the LORD originally made to Abraham (Genesis 17:8). It was a promise that would be kept because God keeps all His promises. Even having been witness to God’s faithfulness since bringing them out of Egypt, doubt still dominated the disposition of the majority of the spies. They were “blind” to the ways of God, and their report upon return from Canaan proved it.
“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are” This was the report from ten of the twelve spies upon their return from Canaan. There were two others who went into the Promised Land as well, Caleb and Joshua. As all twelve traveled the land for forty days, physically, they saw the same thing. Canaan was a fertile and prosperous land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”. The spies gained other insights as well. The people in the land were very formidable; they were very large and powerful people. It was on this observation where the spies separated into two groups, where ten of the spies lost their sight, spiritually speaking that is. When these ten spies looked, they saw only the obstacles they faced, believing their enemies were too much to overcome. Caleb and Joshua saw the obstacles as well, but believed they could be overcome. These calm and confident voices however were not welcome as the majority of the spies stirred Israel to rebel against Moses and Aaron, but most importantly, against God. They grumbled and complained, showing their contempt against the LORD who had brought them to this point and had promised this land to them. Their unbelief would not go without consequence. God made Israel wander for forty more years in the wilderness until the whole generation of the people twenty years and older died. The ten spies died as a result of a plague. Because of their belief, only Caleb and Joshua received the blessing of entering the Promised Land.
So what was it that distinguished Caleb and Joshua from the other ten spies? What distinguished them was how they viewed their situation. The majority of the spies saw the obstacles, but didn’t see God, while Caleb and Joshua not only understood God’s promises, but also the value of having Him present with them. The difference was simply an issue of belief versus unbelief. Unbelief is always at the root of spiritual blindness and often brings about undesired consequences. Belief on the other hand always pleases God. Caleb and Joshua believed God. In contrast to the majority of the spies, they were unique. Joshua eventually led Israel into the Promised Land. Caleb was said to have a “different spirit”, the Hebrew word for “spirit” having to do with the heart (Numbers 14:24). The reason Joshua and Caleb could see with eyes of faith was because they saw with their hearts.
When our hearts are open to God, He is pleased to help us see. Do you have eyes that see every circumstance filtered through the Word of God? Do you see all of the happenings of this world under His providential hand? Our hearts help our eyes to see with faith. Maybe one day there will be a cure for blindness, but today, because of God’s grace, there is a cure for those who are spiritually blind. That cure is Jesus Christ. He alone changes hearts, taking us from unbelief to belief, from darkness to light and from blindness to sight. Do you see Him?
Lord God, help me to see You in everything, no matter how uphill the victory may seem. Let me learn from the testimony of Caleb and Joshua that victory is certain in Your presence. I want to stay in Your presence each day Lord as I battle this world and all of its obstacles. You are gracious and faithful. Help me glorify You in all I do. Amen!