The original escape plan for Israel from captivity in Egypt was a relatively straight line. And then the polling results came in.
As God had commanded, Moses sent twelves spies into the land of Canaan. Their job was to go into this land flowing with milk and honey and come back with an intelligence report.
(17) And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:
(18) And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;
(19) And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;
(20) And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.
What they should have seen is a land of opportunity, filled with promise – and they did. But ten of them could only see the complications. Of course, they saw the blessings of the land and brought back proof of it. They brought back a cluster of grapes so large that two men had to bear it between them upon a staff. They also brought back pomegranates and figs (Numbers 13:23-24). It was everything God had promised.
But the enemy was strong. God knew this. He wanted His people to know this. That way they would not be surprised by what they would encounter. He also intended for them to put their full confidence in Him for victory, and while men like Caleb and Joshua said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30b), the other ten spies, the majority of the focus group, brought up an evil report:
“…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.
“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 13:32-33).
Joshua and Caleb saw the land and its people through God’s eyes while the others saw themselves through the eyes of their enemies and the people sided with the poll numbers.
Polls can be wrong. Popular opinion can be wrong. My own opinion can be wrong. So, how were Joshua and Caleb able to come to the right conclusion about the circumstances facing them and how were they able to stand up to popular opinion? They could do that because they saw things according to the character and the promises of God. God promised the Israelites this land. Not that long ago, He had taken out a world superpower to free His people. What were a few giants where God is concerned? For men like Joshua and Caleb, the choice was obvious. Of course, they could take the land! Sadly, the majority had forgotten God.
We are living in times now where the majority have forgotten God and so even the most basic tenets of morality are subject to popular opinion rather than God’s truth. The temptation is to yield to the tide of opinion, to “go with the flow.” It’s the easiest, and it makes the most sense humanly speaking. But God expects us to see things through His lens and to stand for His truth even when it isn’t according to the polls.