“We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large… We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
~Numbers 13:27-28, 31 (nkjv)
When Moses sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan, they returned bearing a single cluster of grapes so large it had to be carried on a pole between two men (Numbers 13:23). They even named the place the Valley of Eshcol—Eshcol (ashkul) meaning “cluster”—because of this impressive fruit.
After a hurried exodus from Egypt, a harrowing flight from Pharaoh, and a year spent grumbling in the wilderness, you would think evidence of such bounty would make the Israelites eager to push forward into their Promised Land right away. Sadly, something about the spies’ report held them back and ultimately doomed them never to see the fulfillment of God’s promise in their lives.
“‘Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong…’”
The two halves of the spies’ story hinged on one word: “nevertheless.” The spies reported: The land is just as good as God promised, BUT the circumstances are too overwhelming.
A gate hinge has a tapered side that “points” toward the door or gate it opens. If a hinge is pointed toward the wrong side, the door won’t open. The spies pointed their hinge toward the circumstances rather than toward God’s faithfulness and, thus, failed to open their door of promise.
God’s Promise > NEVERTHELESS > Circumstances
How our story goes will depend on where we put our trust, which direction we point our faith. Will we trust the circumstances we see around us, or will we put greater faith in the promises of God? Any time we focus on our circumstances, we point away from God.
“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.’” ~Numbers 13:30 (esv)
Of the twelve spies sent into Canaan, only Caleb and Joshua returned with a faith-filled report. Consequently, out of all the Israelites that had escaped Egypt, God permitted only these two faithful men to enter the Promised Land.
“‘But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.’”
~Numbers 14:24 (nkjv)
No matter what we are facing, we must place faith in Him above the circumstances we see. We must say with confidence: My circumstances look overwhelming, BUT my God’s promises will never fail.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” ~2 Corinthians 5:7 (hcsb)
Circumstances > NEVERTHELESS > God’s Promise
If you are facing challenging circumstances today, where are you pointing your hinge? Are you focused on the problem or His promise? Are you walking in fear or in “a different spirit” like Caleb? Will you point your hinge toward doubt and disappointment or toward the door that opens to God’s promised blessings?
We thank You for Your goodness and Your graciousness toward us, Lord. Thank You for the ultimate promise of eternal life with You through faith in the sacrifice of Your blessed Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Thank You for the promise of hope and for the individual promises You give each of Your children.
Father, help us to see with eyes of faith so that we, like Joshua and Caleb, may enter into the promises You have made to us. Help us remember the times You provided despite our lack. The times You healed when there seemed no hope. The relationships You restored that we’d thought were beyond repair.
May we ever proclaim with fullness of faith that my trials may be great, BUT MY GOD is greater still. This world tries to overwhelm me, BUT MY JESUS has overcome the world (John 16:33). Heaven and earth will pass away, BUT HIS WORD will never pass away (Matthew 24:35, niv).
In the Almighty Name of Jesus we pray,