“They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large…’”
Numbers 13:27-28 (NIV)
‘But’ is such a small word and yet it can have powerful consequences. At one time or another we have all probably used it as an inhibitor to do something: ‘I was going to step out in faith but…’; ‘I was going to tell people I am a Christian but…’; I was going to speak out about Jesus but…’. No doubt the list is endless.
In Numbers 13 we read that Moses sent spies into Canaan to explore the land God had promised the Israelites. Ten of the spies reported back to Moses saying, “oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit!” (verse 27 The Message). They seemed to be excited about the land God was giving them, but… Counteracting their enthusiasm was the fact that the “people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified” (verse 28 MSG), and even worse they were descendents of a giant.
Because of this word ‘but’ they wandered in the wilderness until they died, never seeing the Promised Land in their lifetimes. God had promised the Israelites the Land; it was their inheritance, so He would make it happen. Unfortunately their focus was not on God and his promises, but on the giants that confronted them and as a result they limited what God wanted to do through them. They just couldn’t get past this ‘but…’
Caleb on the other hand tried his best to get the people past the ‘but’: “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’” (verse 30) Caleb knew they could do it because he had faith in God’s promises.
Do you have ‘buts’ in your life? Do you have faith that God can do anything, except that one thing under consideration? Does something seem too big for God because you have been praying for some time and haven’t seen the answer yet? If so remember what the angel said to Mary, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37 NKJV)
If we focus on this wonderful promise then rather than having a life full of ‘buts’ we can move forward in the spirit of Caleb who did enter the Promised Land. For him it was entirely different kind of ‘but’: “But my servant Caleb—this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it”. (Numbers 14:24 The Message)
Let’s follow the Lord passionately, trusting in him and turn the negative ‘buts’ into positive ones.
Father, like Caleb, I want to develop a ‘different spirit’ than what I have. For too long I have had the attitude of ‘but’ and it has hindered my faith and walk with you. Help me to trust you completely in every area of my life.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Saturday 11 am
Local Congregational Contact: