Their names were odd, and yet, strangely, forgettable: Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. 

Moses had sent twelve men to spy on the land God gave them. Ten came back with the report: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large… We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are… The land we explored  devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Cliffs Notes summary: “The land is AWESOME! But, we are not. We’ll never be able to take it.”

There were two different men among the twelve: Joshua and Caleb. They saw the same land, did the same analysis, but came to a very different conclusion: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Sadly, cowardice is more contagious than courage. And because the crowd believed the cowards, they never got to see the Promised Land. They wandered for a generation until all of them were dead and gone. All except those two brave heroes, Joshua and Caleb. 

The ten timid spies may have been intelligent, thoughtful, and realistic people. But, they had no vision, no trust in God’s promises, and no courage. We don’t remember the ten. We don’t sing songs about them.  There is no mention of them in Hebrews 11. And we barely remember their names.

God had great things prepared for His people. But they focused on the might of the giants instead of the power of their God. Their lack of faith and abundance of fear kept them from the good things God wanted for them. Were there obstacles? Sure. Would it be an easy fight? No way.  Was it scary? Absolutely.

Joshua and Caleb looked beyond all that, and with courageous faith and vision, were ready to obey. God later said of Caleb, “My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly. I will bring him into the land…” What a commendation!

The struggle between the ten and two still exists today among God’s people. It is the struggle between fear and faith; between cowardice and courage. 

We love the account of Joshua and Caleb, their courage and conviction, their love for the Lord, and their unflappable faith in His promises. And yet, courage is still rarely a popular position because fear is popular, easy, and loud.

The question really comes down to this: Are we willing to BE Joshuas and Calebs? Are you willing to exhibit faith in the face of fear? In the face of difficulties and challenges, will you show courage or    cowardice?

When it comes down to it, I pray you’ll always choose courage.