25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.
27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
— Numbers 13:25-33 (KJV)
Last week I talked about the tragedy of unbelief and I ended by talking about how unbelief can hold others back. This text is one of the great examples in the Bible that demonstrates how unbelief effected a whole generation of people.
God promised them the land flowing with milk and honey but when 10 of the spies came back with a bad report; it cast a negative influence on the rest of the people. Even though Caleb and Joshua who were the only two of the 12 spies to say yes we can take this, the whole congregation grumbled. Because of their unbelief, the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, one year for every day the spies went over. God later destroyed the 10 spies but Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter the promise land.
How is it that two people can look at the exact situation, task, or objective, see the same facts and end up at opposite ends of the spectrum. Why do some people become negative or live in unbelief while others like Caleb and Joshua have a can do attitude? Why do some people see the glass half empty and others see it half full? Sometimes it is in your outlook on life or what you look at things from your lens. The reality is that when you take a negative view, it can cripple you and those around you. I would like to give you three or four ways to deal with unbelief.
Work on your self esteem
Verse 33 gives us a clue about one of the persons who spoke to the congregation with a negative report. He said we look like grasshoppers to their own selves. In other words he belittled himself and the other spies to themselves and compared to the task at hand. When you have a negative perception of yourself, you immediately place yourself at a disadvantage.
One of Satan’s biggest strategies is to make you think little of yourself because low self-esteem paralyzes people. It limits one from the purpose God has given and thus keeps her from the blessing God has designed for her. While we as Christians should deny ourselves in order to follow Christ, we should still love ourselves and have confidence to achieve what God has already promised us.
In Genesis 1:26, God talks about making man in His likeness. This says to me that if man is made in God’s likeness, man can be creative in his efforts to achieve God’s purpose in his life. Work on yourself and feeling good about yourself as a way of managing unbelief in your life
The Rev. Elijah Wray is pastor of Wyatt’s Chapel Baptist Church. This was the sermon he delivered there this past Sunday.