This is a brief scripture from the story of the spies who spied out the promised land for God's people. The spies told them all they had seen, but then qualified it by saying the people were too powerful for God's people to come against them. The bad report was the spies told them the facts without factoring in God and Faith in God.
Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, didn't give this same report. They agreed on the facts but they didn't agree on the truth -- they factored God in. They told the people to have courage and take the promised land. God would be with them and surely they would have victory.
The people listened to the bad report and cried all night.
I've read this story several times but didn't see what I saw today (oh the Word of God is alive -- so incredible).
God didn't judge them because of their initial fear reaction. He gave them time to choose to believe. This is found in Numbers 14 and I've given you a link to read it if you like: Numbers 14.
Why is this so great? Because it shows God's mercy! He knows what we're made of.He knows how easily fear can come on us. He doesn't want robots.He wants children.
When I was in Army Basic Training centuries ago the drill sergeants drilled us and drilled us.They wanted our first reaction to be obedience. They wanted us to obey without thinking. This is necessary because an army must not take time to think. An army needs to follow the commands as they are given (now, I know this can be its own discussion but we aren't going here). In an army such as this, the individual doesn't mean as much as the force of the whole.
God doesn't deal with us like this. He gives us time to choose Him over our fear. He gives us time to choose to believe.
That night His people cried Caleb and Joshua tried to change their mind. They tried to convince them to believe and go get the promised land.
It wasn't until they were set in their fear, when they refused to believe that God brought down judgment. Those who chose fear over Him would not ever see the promised land. They would not even set foot in it. They would die in the wilderness.
(One last thought: When we are choosing between fear and faith, choose faith. Everything depends on it. Everyone around us is affected by our choices of fear and faith. We plant seeds with our choices in our children. Are we choosing them to live in faith or fear?)