Fear Factor Women's Devotional

Fear Factor

Julia Bettencourt

Posted September 16, 2013

...neither fear ye the people of the land...   Numbers 14:9

Passages to Read:  Numbers 13, 14

Fear is one of those emotions that we all have.  Sometimes a little fear can do us good by keeping us away from dangerous situations.  The fear of the Lord definitely is a good thing.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge...  Proverbs 1:7

Fear can also be a detriment when we let it factor in and overtake us.   It can keep us from thinking, from speaking, and from acting.  If we allow it, fear can hold us back from accomplishing a lot of things in our lives.

Let's take a look at the children of Israel and see what they missed out on because of fear.  The children of Israel had left Egypt, slavery, and the plagues behind and they were now on their way to the land that God had promised them.

As we look into Numbers 13, the children of Israel are right at the edge of the land that God had promised them.  They were at the border of Canaan.  God told Moses to send out men to search out the land of Canaan.  There were to be twelve men, one from every tribe.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.  Numbers 13:1,2

The Report
I had never noticed it before when reading this passage, but do you realize these spies stayed in the land of Canaan for 40 days?  They didn't merely look over across the border.  They went in and searched it out for forty days.

And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.  Numbers 13:25

They brought back grapes, pomegranates, and figs. and showed them to the people and told them that the land was flowing with "milk and honey" (Numbers 13:27).  The one cluster of grapes they cut down had to be carried by two men (Numbers 13:23).

Ten of the men came back with a "Nevertheless" in their report.

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.  Numbers 13:28

In other words, sure the land was full of great things but there were giants in the land.  The cities were walled and great.  They compared the people there as giants and the children of Israel as grasshoppers.

These ten men painted a picture of danger and destruction in the land of Canaan.  The Bible refers to this as an "evil report" (Numbers 13:32).

The other two men came back, (Joshua and Caleb) and their report was different.  They saw a land which could be conquered.

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.  Numbers 13:30

The Reaction
The children of Israel reacted in several different ways.

They Cried.

Do your fears ever drive you to tears?  I know I've had some fears that have sent me to tears.

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.  Numbers 14:1 

They Complained.

The children of Israel began murmuring against Moses and Aaron.  They even wanted to make a "new captain" (Numbers 14:4).

And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron...  Numbers 14:2

They Longed for the Past.

These people wanted to move backwards.  They knew that all Egypt held for them was slavery but they wanted to go back there. Slavery was all they knew.  They had grown comfortable with it.

And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey?  were it not better for us to return into Egypt?  Numbers 14:3

I think we kind of get that way sometimes when it comes to fear.  We want to go backwards.  We sometimes want to get back into the comfortable zone that we know so well or we want things to be like they used to be.  The unknown can sometimes be a scary path to travel.

They Wished for Death.

Fear of what the promised land held for them made the Israelites wish for death.  They thought they were better off dead.   Do your fears ever make you feel hopeless?

..Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!  Numbers 14:2 

They Got Angry.

Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people to allow God to give them the land.  They were trying to convince the Israelites that there wasn't anything to fear, but the children of Israel wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb.

And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.   Numbers 14:6-10

We sometimes get like that.  We get angry at those who give us wise counsel.  We may not want to pick up stones, but we sometimes throw out angry words at those who try to counsel us.

They Rebelled Against God.

God had promised this land to the people of children but they wanted to return to Egypt.   These were the same people who had witnessed God's miracles in Egypt and seen the power of God up close.  Caleb and Joshua urged them not to rebel against God.

Only rebel not ye against the LORD...  Numbers 14:9

The Result

The end result was that the children of Israel allowed fear and rebellion to rob them of their blessings.  They were not permitted to enter into Canaan.   There was so much waiting for them there and they missed it.  Only Joshua and Caleb and the "little ones" could go into the land of Canaan.

Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.   Numbers 14:30-31

Not only could the children of Israel not go into the promised land, but they were to die in the wilderness.

But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.  Numbers 14:32

Fear robbed the Israelites of four things.

They were robbed of their perspective. (Numbers 13:33)
They saw themselves as grasshoppers. 

They were robbed of their joy. (Numbers 14:1,2)
They cried and complained.

They were robbed of their blessings. (Numbers 14:30-32)
They were unable to go into the land of Canaan. 

They were robbed of their time. (Numbers 14:33)
They ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years.


Fear can sneak in and rob us just like it did the children of Israel.  I think we all probably get into grasshopper mode from time to time.  We think everything is bigger than us and that we will get squashed.  But look at what blessings are out there that we might miss if we let fear overtake us.

We ought to want to be living in our own "promised land".  That place of service that God has for us.  I don't want to be out there wandering aimlessly, missing out on the blessings God has prepared for me.  These Israelites were out there in the wilderness basically going nowhere.  They were just spinning their wheels.

I've gotten in that rut before where I was afraid to take on a new responsibility or something new.  Times like that have really slowed me down in my Christian life.

Joshua and Caleb told the children of Israel that the land of Canaan was "exceeding good" (Numbers 14:7).  None of us want to miss out on any blessings that God has for us that are "exceeding good" because fear has factored in where it didn't belong.

So, are what are your fears robbing you of?

Copyright ©2013 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.

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