As Moses was leading the Israelites towards the land God had promised to give them God spoke to him and said, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.”
So he did.
The 12 men went out on a scouting trip. Their report was to provide answers to the following questions:
What is the land like?
What kind of people live there?
Are the cities open or fortified?
What kind of crops grow there?
How’s the soil?
After 40 long days, the men returned to an Israelite camp eager and anxious to hear their report.
It started with great news, “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Then they held up their trophies from the land; monstrous grapes that no Israelite had ever seen before.
At this point in the story you can easily imagine the 1.2 million Israelites were getting pretty excited about the prospects of this “promised land.”
Then came the second half of the report:
“But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there…”
Caleb, one of the scouts who believed God would see them through, insisted that they could take the land. Unfortunately, their doubt continued.
“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”
“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… next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Can you sense the mood of the Israelites now?
One moment it’s, “The land is good, we can do it!”
Next, it’s, “No way, not possible.”
Of the 12 scouts who surveyed the land, 10 came back with a, “We can’t” attitude. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a, “We can” report, and they were almost stoned by the people for it.
The negative report stretched the reality of the situation, exaggerated the dangers they would encounter, and spread fear throughout the camp.
The scouts built up barriers between the people and their “promised land.”
We read the story in Numbers 13 with a certain level of disdain for the lack of faith the Israelites show, but we have the benefit of knowing how the story ends.
The truth is so often we build up barriers between ourselves and what God has called us to do.
“It’s not possible.”
“I could never do that.”
When we focus on what we can and can’t do, barriers are created and grow in between us and our “promised land.”
When we focus on what He’s already done for us, those barriers will be broken!
Jesus broke the barrier that separated us from our heavenly father through His work on the cross.
Now it’s our job to go and do the same. We can point people to the one who can help them enter their “promised land.”
God has called you and me to be Barrier Breakers!