Feb 28 (Daily reading: Numbers 11-13) The ten spies said, “We are not able to go up against the people, because they are too strong for us” (13:31). Henry Blackaby would describe this as a “crisis of belief.” The table of defeat had already been set for Israel when they had wept and cried out: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat for free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna!” (11:4-6). They complained and saw their circumstances instead of looking to God. They thought of things they had eaten in Egypt “for free,” but they disregarded the slavery from which God had delivered them. They had come to the point where God’s provision of manna was no longer considered a blessing. Such is the result of living by sight and not by faith, of following the carnal nature instead of the Holy Spirit.
So, when the spies gave their report on the land, the people were already primed to accept the majority report and ignore the minority report (of Joshua and Caleb). The report began well: “It certainly does flow with milk and honey.” But then we hear that fateful word, “Nevertheless.” They said, “The people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large” (13:27-28). In the same way that they had only remembered the “good things” of Egypt, they now only heard what the majority said. They paid no attention to Caleb, who said: “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will certainly prevail over it” (13:30). I quote my book: “It was ten against two, and the people followed the majority. They had forgotten that they already had a majority for all situations, because the Lord their God was with them! We need to remember that God plus one makes a majority!” (“We Love Because God First Loved Us, page 108).
In the flesh, it is “nevertheless;” with God’s Spirit in us, it is “always-the-more!”
– Al Gary
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