(42) Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill.
(43) And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
The first time God brought His people within range of the Promised Land He instructed Moses to send 12 men into the land of Canaan to spy it out. They were there 40 days and when they came back they had an incredible report to give along with a huge cluster of grapes that they brought along as a visual to prove their point.
All 12 agreed that it was a fruitful land. All 12 agreed that the land was occupied by a mighty people. There was nothing wrong with their reporting of the facts. But 10 had a wrong view of the situation. They gave an “evil report” (Numbers13:32-33). They were right about the facts but they were wrong in their assessment because they did not include God in it. Only Caleb and Joshua did:
“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).
Caleb did not deny the challenges that faced them. When he said, “We can take them!” he wasn’t doing that out of pride or arrogance. He was saying that out of confidence in God. He knew that God changed the odds in their favor. So, he along with Joshua advocated for an invasion – on God’s order.
The people rebelled and said, “No.” They accused God – by way of Moses – of trying to kill them all in the wilderness. In their anger, they even cursed themselves and said, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2). So, God gave them what they asked for. He condemned that generation to wander the wilderness for 40 years until they died off and their children would enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:20-24).
Heartbroken over this change in marching orders, the Israelites tried to “fix” things by arming themselves for battle against the people of Canaan as God had commanded them earlier. But this time, God would not be with them. Moses told them as much. They went up anyway and were roundly defeated (Numbers 14:39-45).
Why? Because life only works when God is in it.
Perhaps you are struggling with a habit or an addiction that seems impossible to beat. You’re discouraged. You’ve tried program after program and have only met with failure. If you’re going up against the giants of addiction in your power and with no growing relationship with the Lord, you will fail. When someone tells you that you need to go into these battles with God, we’re not denying that the giants you face are real. They are real and they’re mean and they’re tough. But if you grow in your relationship with God and walk closer to Him each day, the giants will fall because God changes the odds.