“And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.” (Numbers 13:23)
The Israelites after leaving Egypt took their journey into the wilderness toward the land God promised them. This illustration serves as an allegory of what happens in our lives when we leave a life of sin.
Considering the above verse, we would be hard pressed to find a cluster of grapes so huge it would take two men to carry them home from our local grocery. Although in the land God promised to give the Israelites it was so. God’s promises to the believer are always for our good and for His glory.
We do not live lives of haphazard and meaningless existence, wandering and looking for purpose. If we live in Christ, our lives are full of purpose and promise. God’s plan for His children from the beginning of time has always been to bless and prosper us. It is only sin and unbelief that holds back His best.
The above-mentioned text of Scripture is significant; it is not just a story without revelation. Upon every word recorded in the Bible hangs a mountain of matter; it is up to us to search it out. His word yields to us the reward of faith, the example of bravery when men dare to be different in the face of overwhelming odds and the hope of eternal life.
Throughout the history of the Israelites their journeys were marked by unbelief and struggle, much like our own. When the men came back from spying out the promised land they were astonished by its bounty. Ten spies in total were sent and Scripture says only two of them came back with a positive report, Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 13:30) “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.’ ”
The others came back proclaiming indeed the land is fruitful, one to be desired and possessed, but the giants that dwell therein are too much for us. No ground in our spiritual life is obtained until there is first a struggle for its possession. We are confident good things are in store for us, but we must not give in to doubt and fear.
Too often we are exactly like the struggling Israelites, we let fear instead of faith become our first response in the face of opposition. No more have we laid eyes on two adult men leaving our local grocery carrying a cluster of grapes on a stick, than we have seen the fullness God has laid up for us.
Every answered prayer, every moving of His hand in our lives, every whispering of His voice, every providing of our needs, these are only a sample of the grapes. These are the clusters of the Promised Land that await us, as we walk in faith and denounce fear. Every encouragement that we receive is inspired by Him. Every guiding of our steps, every provision, every measure of unexplainable peace and Heavenly Joy are the first fruits given to us by the Holy Spirit. These all serve to encourage us to press forward.
His present blessings serve to remind us not to give up in fear, but to press on and fight the good fight of faith and enter into His fullness. All these things, like the grapes of Eschol, are just a taste of the blessings yet to come, if we dare to believe in spite of the giants before us.
“God is not a human who lies or a mortal who changes his mind. When he says something, he will do it; when he makes a promise, he will fulfill it.” (Numbers 23:19) CJB