“Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’ Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the people of Israel. And Joshua and Caleb, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, ‘The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.’ Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones.” Numbers 14:1-10
What we do with courage affects the people around us and makes a difference in the atmosphere. This passage illustrates the contrast between discouragement and encouragement, the grand distinction between complaining and expecting, between circumstantial whining and supernatural striving. Israel had been told God was giving them Canaan and they would take it, but most of the tribe representatives were near-sighted and could see only obstacles, fearing men more than God. Only Caleb and Joshua, upon surveying the land, were fueled by God’s promise and might, choosing to look beyond the difficulties to their certain hope.
Do I cavil at difficulties and obstacles, or look for ways to detour or conquer? Do I slog through the sludge of what is hard by ‘dissing’ courage and making excuses for why not to persevere, bringing down and dampening hope for all those around me, or will I strap on my boots, put on my truth glasses to curb the glare and clear the vision, and instill courage in others to come along? The choice with courage is a decision about what and Who to believe. I will be both discouraged, and discouraging, when I fail to take God at His word.
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?'” “Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
defying his glorious presence.” Numbers 14:11; Isaiah 3:8
Lord of all that is good and sure, grant me courage to encourage others with Your unshakeable truth and glorious hope. (Romans 15:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)