THERE ARE TWO kinds of unbelievers in the world: those who do not know what God’s Word says and those who do know but refuse to act on it.
We see an example of the latter in the Book of Numbers. When the Israelites came to Kadesh Barnea, Moses sent 12 men into the Promised Land to spy it out. The spies returned in 40 days and brought back fruit as evidence that the land did “flow with milk and honey” as God had said. But they also brought back what the Bible calls “an evil report”—a report of unbelief. Ten of the spies did not believe they could overcome its inhabitants. Despite God’s promise, they said, “Nevertheless, we can’t do it.”
NUMBERS 13:27–29 (NKJV)
27 Then they [the spies] told him [Moses], and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
It should not have surprised the Israelites that the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Canaanites were in the Promised Land. While the Israelites were still in Egypt, Moses told them that God would deliver them out of slavery and give them the land that was inhabited by these nations (Exod. 13:5).
Moses had chosen one man from each tribe of Israel to spy out the land. All 12 men had been slaves in Egypt. They all had seen how God delivered them from the Egyptians. All of them saw the waters of the Red Sea rolled back (Exod. 14:21–22). Each had witnessed the bitter waters become sweet (Exod. 15:23–25). They saw how God provided manna for them in the wilderness (Exod. 16:15, 31). And they followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21).
These men should have been able to believe God for anything. Over and over again, they witnessed firsthand His supernatural power. But when it came time for them to go into the Promised Land, they let their senses cloud their decision making.
What God has promised does not automatically fall into our lives. We must fight for it.
Ten of the spies believed that part of what God told them was true—the Promised Land did flow with milk and honey (Num. 13:27). But they did not believe that God would give them the land. They said, “Nevertheless . . . we saw . . .” (v. 28 NKJV). They took their eyes off of God and looked at how big and strong the people were. They took note of how fortified the cities were, and they became fearful.
The spies told Moses, “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (v. 33 NKJV). Although they may have felt like grasshoppers, they were putting words in the mouths of the giants. Spies never want to be seen. And the inhabitants of the land of Canaan didn’t know who these men were. Because 10 of the spies greatly feared the men of the land, they imagined those men saw them as grasshoppers.
This is why the Apostle Paul told us to cast down imaginations and everything that tries to exalt itself against the knowledge of God. We are instructed to bring our thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
We can’t allow our senses to dominate our faith life. Our five senses enable us to contact the physical world. They allow us to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. But they were never designed to help us in the spiritual world.
When we look at our natural circumstances—the economy, our family situation, the doctor’s prognosis—our faith cannot be in what we see or feel. It has to be in the Word of God. ALTHOUGH WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE FACTS, WE DON’T HAVE TO ACCEPT THEM AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY. We may not always feel well and things might not always look good, but that doesn’t change the Word of God.
God told the Israelites He would give them the Promised Land, but He never told them they wouldn’t have to fight for it. The same is true for you and me. What God has promised does not automatically fall into our lives. We must fight for it.
Our fight is not a literal one in which we roll up our sleeves and begin slugging it out. We are told to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12 NKJV). We receive what God has promised us through faith.
Now let’s look at a New Testament account of a man who could have been swayed by his circumstances just as the 10 Israelite spies were. But instead, he chose to act on the Word of the Lord. It is one of the greatest stories in the Bible of someone who took God at His Word.
In Luke chapter 5, Jesus was on the shores of Lake Gennesaret when a crowd of people came to hear what He had to say. Since the crowd was so large, Jesus boarded a boat owned by Simon Peter and taught the people from the boat. After He had finished speaking, Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep to catch fish.
Peter had fished all night without catching anything. He was an experienced fisherman and knew that the best time to fish was at night, not in the morning. But instead of arguing with Jesus, Peter said, “Nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (v. 5 NKJV).
Because he obeyed the Lord, Peter caught so many fish that his net began to break. He had to signal his partners for help. Then they filled both boats with so many fish that the boats began to sink (vv. 6–7)!
Anytime we face difficulties, we have a choice. We can either look to God or focus on our circumstances. Common-sense reasoning or relying on our five senses will rob us of God’s blessings and keep our needs from being met. But taking God at His Word will bring us victory. It’s not up to us to figure out how God will supply or deliver. We simply have to believe that He will do it. When given the choice, let’s boldly declare, “Nevertheless, we will believe God!”
Kenneth W. Hagin
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