Same Circumstance, Two Viewpoints

There was once a shoe company that wanted to start up a business in an African city. They decided to send two salesmen to do a site survey. When the first sales agent arrived in the city, he realized that no one wore shoes there. He decided to call his boss and tell him that it would be a waste of time to try to open a shoe store in that city. He was going to take the next flight back.

When the second sales agent arrived he also discovered that the people didn’t wear shoes, so he called his boss to give him his point of view. He said, “I believe that the shoe business will succeed here because we would be innovating a new product. There is no competition, so we would be the first to open this market in this area!” Here we see the same circumstance, but from two different points of view.

In the Bible there was a similar case when Moses commissioned 12 men for a special task. They had to spy out Canaan, the land that God had promised his people they would inherit. They had to make a study of the population, their military capabilities, their customs, the productivity of their land, and in short, all the details that would be useful for them in order to prepare for them to conquer it. These men did their job for 40 days and returned to deliver their report. You can read all about this in Numbers 13:25-29 and 13:31-33.

We learn that ten of them accomplished their mission and were clear, realistic, and specific. So far, there would have been nothing wrong with their report. However, the problem came when they emphasized all the negative things they saw. Their conclusion was, “We can’t do it! They are stronger than us and they’re giants.”

Let us remember that by now the people of Israel had had the opportunity to experience 40 years of pilgrimage in the desert, seeing the powerful hand of God do wonders in their favor.

They witnessed the Red Sea opened up and they walked through on dry land. They saw the glory of God every day in the middle of the camp in the form of a cloud in the morning and at night in a column of fire. They had manna that was bread from heaven to feed them. Their clothes and shoes never wore out. In short, God took care of them with love and faithfulness.

So why did they hesitate now? No other people in human history had the opportunity to experience the power of God like them; but now their conclusion was that they would not be able to conquer that land which God had promised to them. Their report does not give rise to faith. They saw everything through human eyes and, sadly, this is also the attitude of many children of God today.

We say, “God can’t do anything about my problem.” “Things are very difficult and maybe God has forgotten about me.” My question to you is, “Where are we standing in terms of our faith?” God has not changed and His power has not diminished. Let us believe in God’s promises. We have experienced His power yesterday, and we will see it again today, too. We cannot go back and forth between two thoughts, or we’ll become double-minded persons.

What resulted was a wrong attitude of grumbling among the rest of the people. They defiled themselves by rebelling, (Numbers 14:1-4). Their bad attitude was very contagious. The people of Israel now wanted to overthrow Moses and Aaron and return to Egypt.

But thank God, there is always a remnant left. Two of the 12 spies presented a different perspective, (Numbers 14:6-10). They were Caleb and Joshua. They stood firm, believing that God was powerful and faithful to fulfill what he promised. This is the correct attitude of a child of God, who, even though the outlook is unfavorable, is not moved by human emotions but by the promises of God. These men knew for sure that the land belonged to the people of Israel. So they concluded that this land of Canaan would be a piece of cake for them. Therefore, the people’s comments did not discourage them or make them doubt. They spoke words of faith and prophesied what God had promised them. They would take that land and it would be the inheritance of their children.

Let us keep firm the hope in our hearts as children of God who believe in Him and in His Word. The race that we run is that of endurance, patience, and faith. May God bless you as you trust and follow God’s Word and have his viewpoint on the circumstances you face.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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