But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” Numbers 13:30-33, ESV.
The twelve spies came back from the land with a mixed report—the land was as wonderful as promised, but the people in the land were terrifying. Then Caleb steps forward and silences the people, proclaiming, “We can take it. Let’s go get it.” Ten spies are fear-filled politicians. They follow their message, “We can never take the land,” with a sensationalized version of the report they have previously shared with Moses. There are two important lessons here for us:
First, the simplicity of faith is contrasted with the complexity of faithlessness. Faith does not need a public relations team. It does not need bigger and better adjectives. It does not need polish and flair. Faith is simple. “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” As the other spies elaborate on their fear, Joshua stands with Caleb lamenting the faithlessness of the nation before them and pleading with them to trust God. Faith does not need to sensationalize the circumstances because faith is simple: it is trust in God.
Second, faith should drive us to obedient action. Caleb is not just presenting an opposing viewpoint; he is calling the armies to form up and march! The reason Israel had come to this land was a promise from God that the land is theirs and God’s command to take it. Deliberations about the state of the land are irrelevant. What matters now is trust and obedience.
We are at a time in history when mankind is more absorbed with the news of the day and commentary about that news than ever before. Whether it is the mainstream media, social media, or parking lot conversations, we are consumed with deliberations about current events. We lose our focus on the promise of abundant life and the command to glorify God by making disciples. Instead of simple faith, we devote ourselves to rehashing the news of the day.
My prayer for us today is that we will all find a bit of Caleb and Joshua in ourselves—true devotion to simple faith and obedience.