Before the Israelites entered the land that God had promised to give them, Moses sent in a delegation of 12 spies to report back on what the land and people were like. Ten out of the twelve came back with a conviction that the Israelites could not possibly take Canaan. Their report is found in Numbers 13:31-32, “‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.”
In Numbers 13:2, God Himself is recorded as saying, “...the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” He promised to give it to them! It’s the Promised Land! And yet the delegation (minus brave Joshua and Caleb) concluded they could not enter the land and take what God had given them.
When we focus on our circumstances and not God’s will, we will freak out, wimp out, and miss out on His delivered promises. Further, when we pursue what’s manageable, rather than what God has called us to, we will end up wandering and dying in the desert, just as a whole generation of Israelites were required to do for their lack of faith--those who doubted were not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Maybe your Canaan is something, someone, or somewhere to which the Lord has called you and you’ve been unwilling to pursue it because of fear. It could be a neighbor, a family member, a nation, a career, staying in a marriage, leaving a bad relationship, adoption, anything! I am personally convicted to take my eyes off of Canaan and place them on the Lord.
If I fix my eyes on the circumstances in my Canaan, the Czech Republic, I see one of the world’s most atheistic nations, 70% of adults under 28 who have never believed, and a people who are proud of their rejection of God. I see a great reluctance to any form of organized religion and a people who think that what they believe about God is their own business and no one else’s. I also see a super complicated language, mostly formed by consonants, and a 35-year-old brain well past its prime language-learning time.
I want to be like Joshua. The Lord said to him, “Be strong and courageous...I myself will be with you” (Deuteronomy 31:23). That’s the same thing Jesus said to His followers (us!) when He sent us to all nations, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Let’s be brave like Joshua. Let’s choose risk. Let’s pursue the unmanageable and unsafe. God forbid we wander in the desert instead.