I Ate my Words

In Numbers 13 Moses had sent scouts to the promised land to tell them what kind of land it was and to bring back some produce. These scouts weren’t just any men. They were leaders among Israel and when they came back, they gave a negative report to the people saying that they wouldn’t be able to overcome them because they were like grasshoppers in their sight. Joshua & Caleb gave a different report and showed the people a cluster of grapes so large that two men carried the branch. They told the people that they need to go into the land that God promised because they can conquer it. But the other men that gone with them argued with Joshua and Caleb in front of the people insisting that they would not win because the men in the land were much stronger than they are. This negative report caused the community to cry out with loud cries and they wept all night. They asked “why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better that we go back to Egypt?” So they decided to appoint a leader and return to Egypt. Moses & Aaron, and Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and tried to convince the people that God had removed the protection from their enemies to give them this land but they would not hear it and they threatened to stone them to death and the glory of the Lord appeared to them all. God was angry and wanted to wipe them all out but Moses reasoned with God reminding Him that all of Egypt and those who have heard of his fame were watching. Because of this God didn’t wipe them out, but he told them instead, they would get exactly what they spoke out. They would die in the wilderness and their entire generation would not see the promised land. Their children would suffer the consequences of delay in the promise because of their rebellion because they would have to wait for the entire generation to die before they could enter. All of that generation except Joshua & Caleb would die in the wilderness. Some of them tried to change their mind and go. Moses warned them that they no longer had God’s favor, but they went anyway and were slaughtered.

As I read this I thought about the consequence of my words. Things I have prayed for and cried about to God ruined by a negative report. Though I’m so grateful for the mercy and grace of the new covenant, I wonder how many times I have had to receive exactly what I spoke out. How close have I been to promises but I chose a negative report and spoke words of death instead? This chapter was sobering to me and it reminds me that we literally eat our words so we need to make sure we are speaking God’s words.

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