The wilderness experience in the book of Numbers was a profound learning experience to the Israelites. God taught them, formed them, and worked on them for forty years with a purpose of transforming them into a nation that is distinct and set apart for his holy purposes.
But their formation process was not without struggles. One area that they struggled with was the area of attitude transformation. They needed to put off old attitudes that naturally leads to failure and slavery and put on new attitudes that lead to success and freedom.
Their experiences remain relevant for us today in our spiritual walk with God.
Christian life is a life that should lead to holistic transformation. All our human faculties should be transformed by God’s word: mind, heart, affections, will, and emotions.
Biblically, our minds and the framework of our thinking should experience Christ’s transformation just like our hearts. Briefly, Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; and Philippians 2:6 “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”
Attitude of Doubt Vs Attitude of Faith
In Numbers 13:26-33; 14:6-9, Moses had sent twelve spies to get some report on the Promised Land.
The entire group of spies came and confirmed, with a bunch of grapes, that the land was indeed “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Num. 13:26-27).
However, for the ten spies, there was a problem (Num. 13:28-29, 31-33): the people there were powerful, of great size, their cities large and fortified. The mighty descendants of Anak lived there and the land was also surrounded by Israel’s enemies.
In summary, they said something to the effect that the Canaanites were stronger; and so they can’t attack them. The following statement best summarizes not only their self-assessment but their attitude: “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Num. 13:33b). In their minds, the battle was already lost before they entered the battlefield. No Canaanite called them a grasshopper. It was their self-view. This is a very awful attitude to possess. It didn’t stop with them. Negative attitude is very contagious. They infected the entire community with the same attitude (Num. 14:1-4). They doubted God and God’s promise that had been made earlier to the patriarchs that the land rightfully belongs to them.
On the other hand, only two spies (Caleb and Joshua) gave a positive report. After calming the people, they gave people hope and confidence. They said, “we should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30; 14:6-9).
Are there times you’ve been tempted to see how big the mountain is than how big God is? The truth is, Satan always tempts us to doubt God and his promises.
How can we deal with doubt?
Develop an attitude of faith. An attitude that has confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see. Face reality with this posture of heart. Respond to some impossible circumstances not with despair, fear, or doubt but with trust in God. Allow circumstance of life not to shrink but stretch your faith. Face the future not with doubts but with the conviction that “the Lord is with me/us”. Doubt sees the obstacles, while faith sees the opportunities.
Choose faith… for we have been called to live by faith and not by sight.