Numbers 13:32 – So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: "The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge." (NLT)
I was young when I learned that "chicken" wasn't necessarily a chicken. Chickens ran around my grandmother's yard during the day and were locked up in the coop at night. But if my cousin asked me to do something that I was scared to do and I didn't do it, he labelled me a chicken. And since I was somewhat scared of adventurous things, I often wore the label.
"Marty, I bet you won't jump off the tractor shed," he might say.
"Are you crazy?" I'd respond.
"Chicken! Bak, bak, bak!"
Or if it were something that I had initially said that I'd do but then changed my mind about at the last minute, I would be accused of chickening out. Either way, I was a chicken.
Of the twelve spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land, ten chickened out. Four hundred years of Egyptian slavery were behind the Israelites. Now, they stood on the border of the land that God had promised to their ancestors. Out of fear — or else good sense — Moses sent twelve men to peruse the land. It was promising all right, but was also guarded by giants and walled cities. Ten of the men chickened out. Only Joshua and Caleb maintained that they could take the land. The disobedience of the majority cost the Israelites forty years of wilderness wandering.
I'm fond of telling people that God won't ask them to do anything that they can't do — but most of the time that's not true. God often asks me to do things that I can't do. If I could do it, I wouldn't need Him. If I couldn't do it — but He helps me to do it — then the spotlight is shone on Him, and He gets the glory for what's accomplished.
What God asks of me, He enables me to do. He would have enabled the people to conquer the land — and He did for another generation forty years later. The walled cities and giants were no problem for them when God was their guide.
I wonder how many things that I've missed doing for God because I chickened out and never started. Living the Christian life involves faith and trust, and sometimes, the faith must be blind faith — the kind that children have.
Let's not chicken out on what God asks of us. He'll always supply the strength, the way, and the courage.
Prayer: Father, help us to trust You for the wisdom and power to do any and every thing that You ask. Amen.
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