Updated: Apr 15, 2019
Negativity is often brushed off as a minor character flaw, but it is far from being a small offence. Recently, I removed my children from a conversation that deeply vexed my spirit. One of the most frustrating stories of the Old Testament is the story of the negative ten spies. I cannot tell you the amount of damage a negative believer can have upon an entire generation.
The LORD had accomplished the most stunning deliverance for the children of Israel from cruel bondage in Egypt. It was His plan to bless them immensely. While in transit, the LORD had commissioned Moses to send men to explore Canaan—this was their Promise! And so from the desert of Paran a leader from each of the 12 tribes was appointed for the mission.
The charge from Moses was simple. See what the land is like and whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land good or bad? Do their cities have walls around them or not. Is the soil rich or poor? Does the land have trees or not. Do your best to bring back some fruit from the land (it was grape season).
Forty days later, the spies were back. Problem: they gave their report. Yes it is a land flowing with milk and honey, and yes the land is fruitful… BUT… the people who live there are too strong for us, the walls are very large, that land is one that devours those who live there. We could never possess this land. We are like grasshoppers compared to them…
Caleb tried to interject, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”
But it was no use. The damage was done. The hearts of the people had melted in fear, and all with one voice they had cried out loud all night long. Fear has a fine way of playing up the worst scenarios:
o Our wives and children will be taken as prisoners of war!
o Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt
o Terrible twos are coming
o High school is a beast
o It’s too risky, it’s too difficult
o Middle school is the worst
o Teenage years are a horror
o There are no jobs
o Expect the worst
o You will lose everything
Immediately, Moses and Aaron fell, face down in front of the whole community of Israel. At the same time Joshua and Caleb, tore their clothes in despair. In a desperate attempt, they tried to talk to Israel, “The land we explored is very good. This is a land flowing with milk and honey! Don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. We will devour them like bread. They have no protection, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them.”
It was no use. The negative report from the 10 spies had successfully planted seeds of doubt and fear in the people. In just one moment, Israel had lost—literally! This report and their choice to listen to the negativity of their “leaders” had cost them the Promised Land. They would never set foot in it.
I am passionate about building children in faith. I’ve heard it said so well: our children will either inherit our fears or our faith. I caution every believer, teacher, leader and parent out there. Be careful with your words and be careful who you AND your kids are listening to. Unbelief is a grave sin. Your words could literally hinder a breakthrough for one or MANY.