faith · family · learn

40, a Lent devotional: days spying on Canaan

Text: Numbers 13-14, Joshua 1

The story goes that God told the people He would give them a land. Not just any land, the land overflowing with milk and honey. The most perfect land. The land He chose for them as their own. And He would hand it to them. He brought out of slavery an entire nation of people to set them up in their own country. He promised.

But when they got there, someone else was already there. And they just happened to be large. Giants actually. And so the people were afraid and they felt they would never defeat them and they were going to turn around and go back through the desert to the land where they were slaves. They just didn’t want to work and they just didn’t think they would ever get ahead. They gave up.

If you want to be defeated, you will be. Funny how that works. If you don’t really believe, I mean really really, that God will give you what He has promised, then you won’t get it. “Your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness.” – God said that. It’s horrifying to read that.  But it’s right there in black and white and Hebrew. Your dead bodies will fall.

40 days of people watching is a long time. It’s long enough to see patterns and lifestyles. It’s long enough to get a good look at how a town moves and thrives. But is it long enough to be overwhelmed with the doubt that God didn’t really mean it? Is it long enough to forget all the miracles you’ve seen before, and the promise of a home from a God who turned a river into blood and killed all the firstborn sons without so much as a pocket knife?

It wasn’t long enough to make two of them forget. It was long enough for Caleb to believe. It was long enough for Joshua to remember the “promised” part of the “promised land.” They knew they shall possess the land. They couldn’t have guessed the details, the mechanics and logistics of the battles they were about to win. They wouldn’t have known how often the people would rebel and consequently suffer for their disbelief. They also didn’t know that they would have to wait the length of an entire generation before possessing the land because of their people’s wickedness and rebellion. But their reward was to be the only two of their generation to enter the land. How sweet it must have been to cross that Jordan River and step foot in the land, to be told by God, every step you take will be on land that I give to you.

It strikes me that we have all been given promises, our own promised land if you will. God promises to meet our every need. God promises to hear our cries. God promises to be our Father, to dwell among us, to be our salvation. He promises to forgive us and cleanse us. He promises to be our strength and shield, our comfort, our source.

But there are giants in the land.


What is your promised land? what promises of God to you are clouded by your “better” judgment?

What giants are in your way to claiming the true promises of your marriage? Your family? Your church family? Name your problems, the actual stuff that stands in your way. If you can’t name the giants, ask God to show you what they are, and then be repentant of your unbelief.

What voices are you listening to, the ones that cause you to doubt God’s goodness and provision, telling you it’s impossible? The voices that rationalize sinful behavior and gives excuses, enslaving you again?

Choose today to listen to the voice that claims victory over fear, doubt, sin. Know the good promise of a faithful God who chose you from before time was time. Know that He gives you triumph over the giants you see even this moment. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Believe it.



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