Numbers 13:27-28, 31 – “And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.
“Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”
The LORD told Moses to send out leaders from each tribe. Leaders. Each was a leader of one of the twelve tribes—a very select group of men.
Moses assembles them and sends them out. The men went up as they were instructed, explored the land, and returned with a sample of the land’s fruit. They report that it is, as God said, a wonderful land.
But then they emphasize the negatives of the trip. The people are powerful. The cities are massive and very fortified. Caleb disagrees, so he silences the people and affirms that they should go up and take it as God had commanded.
The other spies said, “We can’t go up. We can’t attack those people. They are stronger than us.” Then they spread a bad report about the land to the Israelites. They said, “the land devours those living in it,” “the people were of great size,” and “we looked like grasshoppers in their eyes.”
So, all the members of Israel raised their voices and wept. They were afraid of the Canaanites. The people said we should go back to Egypt. Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt.
Then Moses and Aaron fell in front of the whole assembly, and Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes. They told the assembly that the land is good, as God said. They told them not to be afraid because the LORD would give it to them. They said not to rebel against God. But the assembly talked about stoning them.
What does it all mean? And what does it matter?
First, God told them what to do, how to do it, and what would happen when they did it. And the result was a permanent home for this traveling nation of Israelites. But they still didn’t obey. So, we need to listen to God. He’s told us what to do, how to do it, and what will happen when we do it. And the result is a permanent relationship with him.
Second, we need to be careful who our friends are. We’ve probably all heard the idea that we are a combination of those closest to us. Some would argue that we are a combination of our entire network of relationships. But whether it be friends, coworkers, family, mentors, or whoever, we need to know that they will affect us. So, we need to pay attention to whom we’re interacting with. Choose your friends carefully. Choose carefully from whom you seek advice. Pay attention to those with whom you spend time.
Third, we need to know that our friends will be wrong sometimes. The twelve spies were leaders of the tribes of Israel. They were the best choice to do God’s mission. Yet, out of twelve leaders, only two said to follow God’s lead and take the land. They all saw the same thing but gave a different report. So, keep in mind that a large percentage of your friends (in this case, over 80%) may be wrong. Just remember that your fellow leaders may be inaccurate. So, second guess them but don’t second guess God.