“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!”—Numbers 13:27-28
The decision at Kadesh-barnea determined the future of Israel. In Numbers, Moses dispatched twelve men from each of tribe of Israel. They were ordered to spy out the land of Canaan before Israel would cross over and settle there. After exploring the land for forty days, the spies returned to Kadesh-barnea as the people of God faced their future: the Promised Land.
The men saw how the land looked. It was exactly as God said it would be. However, when they also saw the inhabitants, fear gripped them. They were convinced that there was no way they could go up against the giants living there. What they saw seemed more convincing than what the LORD had said. So, they spread this bad report about the fruitful land and the fearful inhabitants among the Israelites.
As a result, the LORD refused to allow his people to enter the land. And Israel would wander in the wilderness for forty years until that unbelieving generation passed away and littered the vast and terrible desert with their bones.
When we stand at the edge of our future, our Kadesh-barnea, we come face to face with fear that faith cannot avoid. God will never offer his people a path that does not require faith. Standing at the crossroads, we will have to choose between walking the path of faith or walking away in unbelief. Only faith can move us forward to enter into God’s promise.