As part of their journey to the Promised Land; Canaan, Moses, their leader, sent out 12 spies (fellow leaders) to scout their expected destination ahead of time. They heed on to the instruction of Moses and journeyed within 40 days.[i] Even though they all had the same external experience, their internal conclusion was totally different. [ii]
In our days, these 12 spies can be likened to those who are ahead of us in terms of age, geography, institution (work, marriage, education etc) and life. All these people may have a similar external experience but their internal conclusions are never the same.
Here are some of the lessons from the 12 spies:
- There are always people ahead of you: In whatever path you seek to tread on, there are people ahead. Never think your situation is so distinct that you can’t get something/someone to relate to. As said by one of the wisest people who’ve ever lived, Solomon, “There is nothing new under the sun.”[i]
- Big difference between External Experience and Internal Conclusion: The mere fact that people encounter the same/ similar situations doesn’t mean that they will have the same results. The internal conclusion makes the difference and this is subjected to the personality of the individual.
- Big difference between looking and seeing: We may all look at the same things, but we will see differently. “Looking” just acknowledge an object or presence but “seeing” pay attention and seeks to understand. Also, looking and seeing vary because of the angle of our minds. Example; a piece of fine wood is of no relevance to a doctor as compared to a carpenter/ a sculptor.
- There is always a report: Report is a description of a situation/event. In whatever step you want to take in life, there will be a good and bad report. These reports are convincing because they have experience as their evidence. There are reports of the naysayers which will discourage you and the reports of the optimist which will build you up.
- Whose report would you believe? Your natural internal inclination influences the things you easily believe in. Most of the Israelites were negative since they left Egypt, and so it was easier for them to believe negative report over the positive. “You are no stronger than your belief system.” – T.D. Jakes. Mostly the decisions we take are not a result of the report we hear but the things we believe.
- Attitude makes the difference: In his book, Attitude 101, John C. Maxwell remarked, “Our attitude at the beginning of a task will affect the outcome more than anything else.” Attitude indeed makes the difference. It can change a problem into a blessing, a challenge to a privilege and an obstacle to a miracle. Your attitude influences your approach towards issues in life. Note that your attitude is not automatically good just because you belong to God. Attitude is like a muscle, it needs to be worked out.
- Positive and Negative Reports never spread at the same pace: “There’s actually extensive study in human communications in why certain news spreads faster, not just a common sense understanding of it,” explained by Deb Roy, “It’s well understood that there’s a bias to our sharing negative over the positive news, and also a bias to sharing surprising over the unsurprising”[ii] Also, negative report spreads faster because it is easier to fabricate a negative story as compared to a positive story. And people often seek to find any possible reason that can support their fear and unwillingness to move forward or to try something new.
Therefore, we must be circumspect on the kind of information that we subscribe to. In the long-run, is not necessarily about the one whom you received the report from but it’s about the decision you took with the given information. The report you believe may either fast-track or delay your destiny. The 40–day journey of the Israelites, because they believed the wrong report, was prolonged to 40 frustrating years. (Numbers 14:34). Also, about 2 million people were deprived of their promised inheritance.
Let’s all take advice from some of the lessons derived from the 12 spies, trust God to assist us to discern in knowing and believing the report that will be very beneficial to our lives.
God loves you and always want the best for you
[i] Ecclesiastes 1:9
[i] Numbers 13:25
[ii] Numbers 13: 27 – 30