This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
(Numbers 13:27-28, 30)
Relate: Three hundred men against a million. That is the way legend likes to tell the story. In reality, the Greek force was somewhere closer to the 5,000 – 7,000 range and the “million” they were facing was much closer to around 75,000. As daunting as those odds still are, it just doesn’t sound nearly as daunting or romantic as legend would have it. The Battle of Thermopalye captures our imagination in a way that few other moments of history can compare. We love heroic stands against overwhelming odds. We cheer on defiant charges against insurmountable opponents. Win, lose, or draw, facing the impossible is the stuff of which legends are born.
React: Maybe you are more courageous than I am, but when it comes to reality, I am not nearly as big a fan of taking on impossible tasks. Give me something more doable. Give me something a bit safer. I might dream of more, I might imagine better, but I know my limits. Things are a lot more comfortable when I stay safely inside them.
It is that perspective that motivated the speech of the ten spies. It is also from that perspective that the people of Israel responded. We tend to look down on them but in reality, we don’t do any better. At least I don’t. Maybe you are more courageous than I am.
Joshua and Caleb were the stuff of legend. They recognized a greater reality. While the people and the ten other spies openly and realistically acknowledged their capabilities and limitations, Joshua and Caleb lifted their eyes higher. They instead focused on the limitless capabilities of the God they served. While everyone else focused on an impossible problem, they allied themselves with an Almighty answer. Nobody remembers the names of the ten other spies, but Joshua and Caleb…
They are the stuff of legend.
Increase my faith. There is a part of me that knows You are able to do mighty things, legendary things. There is a part of me that even knows that You are willing and able to do them through me. But there is another part of me that keeps saying, “Let’s be reasonable about this.” Help me to silence that voice of pragmatic doubt. Give me dreams. Then give me the courage to step out and live out the dreams that You are placing inside me. Let my life be the stuff of legends.