Then the whole community began
weeping aloud, and they cried all night (14:1).
Springtime in Georgia rarely arrives without fanfare.
While many anticipate the brilliant pink and white
azaleas, others stock up on antihistamines and
await the onset of the sneezing season. This past spring,
the pollen was especially intense. One morning, my
husband and I were amazed to see an ominous cloud of
pollen visibly hanging in the air. Our noses and throats
bore witness to nature’s invasiveness.
Numbers 13 records the story of the 12 spies appointed
to check out the Promised Land. You might recognize
the names of Joshua and Caleb, but the other 10
also impacted an entire generation of God’s people.
Their names aren’t memorable, and their stance was
regrettable: God’s promises weren’t possible (vv.28-29,
31-33). Like a fine dusting of pollen, their discouragement
covered the people, and their words of fear choked out
faith in the greatness of God. Weeping, the people cried
out to return to Egypt where bondage felt safer (14:1-3).
Discouragement is a sneaky enemy because it leads to
a slow bleed, a gradual erosion. As the battles become
difficult and the results delayed, discouragement settles
in, layer upon layer, until we’re ready to give up. Forty
years after the 10 spies brought their discouraging
message, Moses reminded Joshua—who was about to
lead the people into the Promised Land—to “be strong
and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For
the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
We have the choice to become covered with disbelief or faith. Joshua trusted
God’s promises so much that he voiced them to others (Joshua 1:6,9,10:25)
and, consequently, led an entire nation into God’s freedom. It begs the question:
What are our lives reflecting to others—discouragement or deep trust in God?
Read Proverbs 4:23,
13:12, and 15:13 to
learn more about the role
of the heart in dealing
What has caused you to
feel discouraged recently?
How can you learn to
trust God more and not
Voices of The Cross - Dan Stevers