Numbers 14:9 Only rebel ye not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. (KJV)
The Israelites led by Moses, Joshua, and Caleb are pleading with the Hebrew nation. The “spies” have just returned from the Promised Land, the land the Lord God has promised to give them. It stands before them–ready for the taking.
Some of the men sent to scope out this land see only giant problems. The promise of God means nothing in the face of the problems.
Joshua and Caleb, two spies that trust God and remember ALL He has done to free them from Egypt, report a “land flowing with milk and honey.”
Moses, Joshua, and Caleb are on their faces, tearing their clothes, covered in ashes (a sign of mourning, grief, extreme distress) in front of this nation of severely short memoried persons. These three plead “do not rebel.” In our day, we would say, “don’t be stupid, are you idiots?” “Have you not learned a thing?” “Have you lost your minds?” “I can’t believe you are such morons!” Moses was a bit more politically correct in his frustration.
God has proven Himself faithful over and over since this tribe left Egypt. How quickly we homo sapiens forget! We can’t remember the blessings of yesterday TODAY! Even monkeys have better memories than man. (I told you sarcasm is an art form in my family.)
Moses, not so gently, reminds these he has led, “if God is for us who can be against us” (Romans 8:31): WHO can be big enough, strong enough, rich enough, organized enough, trained enough, armed enough, wise enough, _______ enough to be better than GOD? Not one soul, army, terrorist, or nation. We can move forward in complete confidence that God will do all He says He will do. WE WIN!
FEAR THEM NOT! The enemy is already defeated (their defence is departed from them)! Utterly destroyed! Toast!
Sadly, they did not listen. Rebellion cost the nation of Israel forty years of wandering. An entire generation minus two (Joshua and Caleb) died and NEVER saw the land they had been promised. God cannot show Himself strong unless we let go and trust HIm. A lifeguard cannot rescue someone who fights or both go down. The lifeguard will back away until the drowning one gives in to exhaustion and then moves in to help. Much time and energy is lost but the promise of rescue is fulfilled. The drowning one is safely returned to shore. The Lifeguard never abandons.