Will we be one of the ten or one of the two? The next generation – your children, grandchildren, or the young people at your church – needs us to decide right now.
In Numbers 13, we read how Israel sent out twelve spies to check out the land that God had promised them. When they returned, it was reported how the land flowed with milk and honey, but ten of the twelve spies warned the people that the mission to take it was impossible because the people living there were too strong. This is where we pick up the story:
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” – Numbers 14:1-11
Ten spies turned the whole Israelite community against Moses and Aaron and God. They saw the challenge in front of them and, despite all the miracles God had performed since leaving Egypt, they doubted God’s power and authority and wanted to retreat. Yet, two spies – Joshua and Caleb – had faith and tried to encourage the Israelites to trust in God to give them the land He had promised.
A Ten or a Two?
As Christians, we all like to imagine that if we were dropped into the various stories in the Bible that we would find ourselves doing the right thing. We would stand up with Joshua and Caleb. We would walk to Nineveh right away. We would go with Daniel into the lion’s den. We would not deny Jesus. But, what in our faith life makes us so sure?
Do we read the Bible every day? Does our life reflect our love and commitment to God? Do we have a history of obeying God when we sense Him calling us to go? Is our prayer life strong?
If we take an honest and humble look at our faith life and don’t see these things, then the tough truth is we are not ready to stand with the two, but with the ten.
With the ten, is where we find much of the Church today and the results are devastating. Instead of our light pushing back darkness and our salt preserving righteousness, we see darkness increasing and a godless society on the rise where everyone is doing whatever is right in their own eyes. And, the messages of this culture are now bombarding the next generation where the majority are leaving the Church by adulthood to join the world and its pursuits on the wide road.
Time to Join the Two
So, this is where we find ourselves, but it isn’t where we stay. It is time to stand up and boldly join the two.
To do this, we must humbly repent of our sins to God, admitting that we haven’t loved him with all our hearts and our lives show it, and the world and our children have been impacted by it. Yet, the good news is God is loving and compassionate, ready to forgive and lift us up.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. – James 4:10
After confessing our sins, it is time to turn from them and overcome them. We need to get into the Bible every day so we can grow in our relationship with God, hear his truth so we are able to identify the lies the world has us believing, and discover the new life and mission he has for us.
The awesome news is we can do this! Joshua and Caleb had faith in God seeing all he had done for Israel during the exodus. However, we have a strong advantage over them. We have the whole Word of God to read for courage and strength! We also have the Holy Spirit living inside us! And, we can be emboldened because our victory is not going to be won in human strength. Joshua and Caleb realized this truth and that is why they encouraged the Israelites by reminding them to trust in God. Our victory is going to come by trusting in Jesus and being willing to follow and obey him.
So, it is time to decide: are we going to be one of the ten or one of the two?
Living a Life on Mission
No matter where you are on your journey of faith, your actions can and will disciple the young people looking up to you. Find support and encouragement right where you are at: