Fact checking is more vital now than ever to those seeking valid information. But it seems like we need fact checkers for the fact checkers, as political or personal bias is reported as unassailable accuracy. It is no wonder we are so tribalized as a society, content to trust as truth manipulated information which almost imperceptibly distorts or validates our perception. Sooner or later politicizing every issue will smack us upside the head when perspective crashes into reality. We have hung our worth and morality on loose hooks.
It seems that this is nothing new. Our inescapable tendency to prioritize our own opinion is a constant, something that takes a decided determination to resist. Look at the story of the Israelites on their protracted journey to the promised land. Their whining, complaining, ungrateful, stubborn outlook blinded them and crushed their trust in God’s leading. This is despite actually seeing Him part the Red Sea so they could cross, rain down food literally every day, send quails for meat that they wanted, give them water out of a rock – not to mention there was a pillar of cloud they could always see which turned into fire at night. And did they not notice that their clothes weren’t wearing out despite making their trip in a hot dusty desert? In the face of all this, traveling to a place that God said He would give them to be their home, they relentlessly chose to trust their instincts instead of embracing the word of a demonstrably all powerful Being. What’s up with that? It would be easy to condescendingly judge their foolishness, but we know how hindsight works. And honestly, doesn’t that scenario seem vaguely familiar in our own lives?
Case in point – Moses sends out twelve spies to check out the land they are promised. They come back with grapes so big the clusters had to be carried on poles, reporting the wonders of a lush bountiful land. And there is that other thing – giants who would not take kindly to their claim to ownership. Their perception that they were as grasshoppers to these adversaries colored and tainted the majority report about their destination. Slavery in Egypt seemed preferable to fighting. Their reality was born out of fear, prejudice, preference, insecurity and unbelief. It was also the popular take. It would have received lots of thumbs up and “likes” had there been social media. It would be so easy to generate a cancel campaign against the guy God had obviously chosen to navigate them to liberty. Oh wait, they did! In fact – once again – God had to dramatically intervene to set them back on course. And naturally, what did they do? They apologized and impetuously took it upon themselves to fight without the presence or approval of their leader. With the bravado of those awakened from the blindness of unbelief, they overcompensated by taking things into their own hands to justify themselves – only to discover (once again) that misguided fervor was disastrous. The book of Numbers is a mind boggling read!
Highlighted in this account is the minority report of two men – Joshua and Caleb. Names sound familiar, right? Yeah, the others drop out of sight with the rest of the doubters. Significant to God’s story is the fact that these are the only two out of the original million plus crowd who actually enter the promised land. These two guys, instead of focusing on the obstacles that they could see, threw their weight behind the promises of a God who had proven Himself to them time and time and time again.
Two out of twelve. They all saw the same thing, but their reality was different. This speaks volumes about how your perceiver affects your believer. Trust in an unfathomable God is the road less traveled, the narrow path, the way of faith and not of sight. These were ready to go and fight, confident that God’s plan was better than theirs. They did not succumb to the paralysis of analysis and their courage did not come from some ill-founded confidence in their spiritual maturity or military prowess. They knew full well – just like the others – that the giants were formidable. They, however, did not doubt the word of the One Who parted the sea, Who brought water out of a rock, Who fed them every day, Who led them every day, Who chose them to be His people. And God honored them for their choice!
Is there a lesson here for us? Yes, the scenario has changed. Our particular wilderness is full of people, cars, cities, technology etc. But we still have giants! Am I convinced that God is enough or do I try to manage them with earthen tools? The same God Who commended Joshua and Caleb invites us to trust Him and follow His ways. Whether we do or not depends on how we formulate our reality. If all we see is the limit of this world’s horizons, we are in for a big surprise! On that day when the mansions are revealed and our tent-life is over, we will see with our resurrected eyes what our eyes of faith see dimly now. Consider the lines penned by CT Studd, a man who gave up a promising lucrative athletic career to pursue the things of God: “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”. On that day I want to be with Joshua and Caleb, not with the majority report of the short-sighted ‘reasonable’ perspective. What about you?