Numbers 13

An advance party of representatives from the tribes does recon in Canaan.

The are three reports in a sense.

The uncoloured one says it’s a great place to live but the people are strong and in fortified cities.

Caleb from Judah gives the pro spin: we can beat them, it will be great. The tacit message accepts that they probably can’t beat them on their own, but accounts for having God’s promise on their side.

The rest give the negative spin: the people are Giants (lie), we’ll never beat them (faithless), and the land isn’t that great anyway (lie).

So its a spiritual issue, because its not any land, it’s God’s promised land. The negative reports can’t imagine God’s help. They are defeatist and exaggerate the danger. They must have been crushing for morale and faith. They come as a killer blow after two chapters of stories of unrest and doubt.

I went to my first parish council meeting last night and it’s tempting to wonder at the organisation God’s has entrusted his great mission to.

A tiny group of people, saddled with a magnificent but crumbling building we can’t imagine (or probably even justify) keeping maintained. $350,000 needed for the belltower. Meanwhile, making tiny dents on a vast spiritual and social task that seems insurmountable.

The size of the problems vs. our resources for them – seems preposterously unequal.

Wandering in the wilderness really doesn’t work on any level without a promise and hope in it.

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