After the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, they journeyed toward Mt. Sinai, in accordance to the Group Word that they have received from Abraham, which was delivered by Moses. The Lord provided food, water, and protection in the wilderness (Weliever, 1998). After being numbered and organized, they were not ready to enter the Promised Land. Like any endeavor, there must be a collective intent to accomplish a goal. They co-initiated. There must also be planning and preparation.
The Israelites set out to survey the land (Deuteronomy 1:20-23). This was in line with co-sensing. They were set to observe what they were going into. They intended to open their minds and hearts to the task at hand. After 40 days, the 12 spies that were sent out returned and admitted that Canaan was a wonderful land. However, they expressed doubt that they could conquer these strong people. Only two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, said they were able to take the land (Numbers 13-14).
While the 10 other spies correctly saw the height and strength of the inhibitors of the land, they lacked in the sensing department. They only saw the obstacle. While they saw that the land was indeed bountiful, the 10 other spies could not see the most important thing. It was God who will enable them to claim this land. They took for granted the fact that they were not going to do this by their own power and might.
Scharmer (2007) said, “When sensing happens, the group as a whole can see the emerging opportunities and the key systemic forces at issue.” Joshua and Caleb were the ones who were able to successfully sense the issue at hand. They did not just sense the obstacles, they sensed the source and they sensed the rewards of the victory that was promised to their Nation (group), a promise that was passed on from the time of Abraham.
Weliever (1988) described Caleb and Joshua to be different. They had a different disposition and a different attitude toward God and his work. They saw themselves as co-creators with God for the promise that was given to the Israelites. They said it themselves: “We are well able to overcome” (Numbers 13:30, emphasis added). These were the attributes of that these two young men had:
(1) Faith. They said, “We are well able to overcome” (13:30). They
believed in themselves, in their fellow Israelites and most
importantly in their God.
(2) Confidence. Concerning the Canaanites Joshua said, “The
people are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and
the Lord is with us” (14:9). They had the confidence in the outcome
of this undertaking, because they knew they were doing the will of
(3) Courage. Joshua said, “fear them not” (14:9). He was not afraid
of the giants, the walled cities or the strength of the people.
(4) Action. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it”
(13:30). Positive people say, “Let’s go and do it now!”
(5) Thankfulness. They understood the land was a gift from God, a
blessing due to his delight in them (14:7-8). True appreciation for
one’s blessings will lead to action and obedience. (Weliever, 1988)
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What can you learn from the behavior of the spies?
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