The vocal ten.
Ten men among twelve.
Ten men who feared the unknown more than they trusted the known.
Ten men whose actions forced a nation to wander in a desert wasteland for forty years, when the journey could have taken mere days.
Ten men whose fear fueled a rebellion against God.
Many of us are familiar with the story of the twelve Hebrew spies who went on a reconnaissance mission into the land of Canaan. A land God promised they would take. Moses sent the spies on a forty day mission to scout out the land. He wasn’t checking to see if the land could be taken. God already told him it could be taken. The spies’ mission was to scope out the land and come back with a report so plans for conquest could be drawn up.
Even though the vocal ten saw a bountiful land, they focused on the giants instead. The skeptical, fearful vocal ten forgot God is bigger than any giant we might face. They came back convinced, despite God’s promise, the land could not be conquered.
Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies sent on the recon mission, wanted to enter the land at once. Yes. There were giants, but these two argued the land could be conquered because God would go before them. Just as he had ever since they left Egypt.
Because of their lack of faith and fear, the ten convinced the rest of the million or so Hebrew travelers with them their efforts to take the land were futile. They spread fear throughout the camp.
Not only did their words and thoughts fuel their own fears, they stoked the fears of the rest of the people. They riled the crowd up to an illogical frenzy based on a fear-bred lack of faith.
Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-9)
Just as was the case of the vocal ten who shouted over Caleb and Joshua, and whose fear won the people over to their way of thinking – much to their eventual detriment when we remember Caleb and Joshua were the only original people in the exodus from Egypt God allowed to finally enter the Promised Land forty years later – our words matter.
Our words have consequences.
Our words can heal or cause division.
Our words can fuel fear of fuel faith.
And most importantly, our words show where we put our trust.
Instead of being like the vocal ten, and using our words to fuel fear and distrust, how about we use our words to fuel others’ faith in the Word of the Immutable Unchanging Promise Keeper God?
Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:30-33 (NLT)
You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.