“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV).
Seeing the same things, but believing differently. After the Israelites left Egypt and were about to enter Canaan and take possession of the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve men from the twelve tribes of Israel to spy out the land (See Numbers Chapters 13 and 14). Moses did so based on instructions from God (Numbers 13:1). However, it was not originally God’s idea to send spies. The people had requested it earlier and God granted their wish (See Deuteronomy 1:20-22).
Ten of the twelve spies came up with a bad report. While the majority report acknowledged that the land was a good land flowing with milk and honey, it emphasized that they could not attack the people; that the cities were walled and fortified; that the land devoured those living on it; and that it was full of powerful giants of great size who made the Israelites look like grasshoppers. The report frightened the Israelites and made them lose hope in God and in their own abilities to possess the Promised Land. They grumbled against Moses and Aaron and said it would have been better for them to return to Egypt as slaves and die there.
However, there was a minority report or dissenting opinion by Caleb and Joshua. They did not dispute the factual basis of the majority’s bad report. However, they interpreted it differently. Here is part of what they said: “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (Numbers14:8-9).
The twelve spies were not ordinary people. They were leaders selected from the twelve tribes of Israel. In other words, they were leaders from the blessed twelve tribes of Israel, so you can say that they were blessed leaders. Yet, ten of them were afraid of what they saw in the Promised Land and provided a bad report that terrified the Israelites.
The ten saw giants who made the Israelites look like grasshoppers. They automatically concluded that because some of the inhabitants were giants, they could not fight and defeat them. They forgot that with God, all things are possible, and that they were more than conquerors.
They had forgotten so soon how God rescued the Israelites from slavery in the hands of the mighty Pharaoh by inflicting at least ten plaques on Egypt. And how, after setting the Israelites free, the Egyptians chased them in order to capture and return them to slavery, but the Israelites cried out to God and God intervened. God saved the Israelites by parting the Red Sea and allowing them to cross on dry ground, but caused the Egyptians to drown when they attempted to cross on the same dry ground.
Many years later, a young man by the name of David also saw a giant called Goliath. Like the ten leaders, the people of Israel, including King Saul, were terrified of Goliath. They assumed that no Israelite could fight and defeat Goliath, but not David. David said this when he was approaching Goliath: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel ….. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV).
Joshua, Caleb, and David lived by faith, not by sight. They saw the same giants as did the others, but their faith and belief in God gave them confidence that they could defeat them. They factored God into the analysis. They did not let their fears overcome their faith. Instead, because of their faith in God, they knew they were more than conquerors.
We are human beings. We have fears and doubts. And we have “giants” and “Red Seas” in various spheres of life taking advantage of our fears and doubts by challenging, taunting, threatening, and forcing us into submission. They tend to block our ways to success. We should not forget that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (see Romans 8:37 and Philippians 4:13). This is especially so if God has called us to do those things or they are consistent with God’s will.
It is the presence of Lord that makes the difference between our successes and failures. If the Lord is with us, who can succeed against us? If we live by faith, we will recognize that the battle is the Lord’s. We will look beyond what our eyes can see. The giants will appear small, the Read Seas will look like tiny streams, and problems and challenges will turn to successful opportunities.
We should magnify the Lord more than we magnify our problems and challenges. The devil wins when we magnify our problems and challenges above God and let our fears overcome our faith. It should be the other way around. We win by God’s grace when we live by faith, not by sight. We are shortsighted. Faith in God may help us to see farther and wider than what any eyeglasses or magnifying glass can help us to see; or it may make us more pleasing to God, for “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.