Fear is the other obstacle in our way of serving God. We can be humble and strive to follow God’s direction, but if we are too fearful to do what He says, we fail miserably. We see the consequences of fear and what God thinks of fear in the story of the 12 spies that Moses sent into the land of Canaan.
In Numbers 13: 25-33 we read “When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (NASB)
Ten of the twelve spies were filled with fear and did not want to enter the Promised Land. The bad report resulted in the Israelites becoming fearful and rebelling against God’s appointed leadership in Aaron and Moses. God offered to wipe the Israelites out and start over with Moses and his descendants. Why, all because of fear that was crippling the people from going in and taking possession of the land that God had promised to the Israelites. Moses pleaded on behave of the Israelites and then God pardoned and rebuked them.
God’s rebuke is recorded in Numbers 13:20-25. “So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.” (NASB) The Israelites then spent the next 40 years wondering in the wilderness while that fearful generation passed away one by one.
God cannot use fearful people because fear kills the mind and prevents action to follow God’s leading and direction. God has promised over and over to be with us and to “Fear not”. Those crippled with fear may be forgiven if they repent, but will fall by the wayside and not be used as God had intended. Those filled with confidence in their God will be victorious and conquer their enemies and the land! Fear indeed is the mind killer that keeps us from fulfilling the destiny that God desires for us!