Nu 13:23-33 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there.And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to 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 stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.”There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Where we live in the small community of Shottsville in Marion County there are some of the most beautiful hills that you will ever see. There are also some beautiful valleys here as well. The hayfields look so pretty right after they have been cut and the hay has been bailed. And there are many beautiful green pastures to look at as you drive around in this area. I actually get them both from our front porch!
This past week we went on a family vacation to Springfield, Missouri and what a blessing it was to know that the One who created the Ozark Mountains is our God and that we can know Him personally. The mountain top is no doubt a wonderful place to be.
In our journey with the Lord we often associate the valley as a hard place to be in. And certainly, that can be true sometimes. For most of us that have served the Lord for a while we have had some experiences that we would say were times that we were in the valley in our walk with the Lord. We may have experienced the unexpected loss of someone that we love. Or, there could have been some other unexpected adverse situation that came along and made us wonder where God was at that particular time in our lives.
On the other hand, we can be like Joshua and Caleb and see that there are blessings in the valley and that the valley can be a real good place with lots of blessings and opportunities. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb all of the other spies that Moses sent into the land came back with a bad report.
Those spies chose to focus on the giants in the land. They chose to focus on the strength of their adversaries. Joshua and Caleb saw the grapes. Not only did they see the grapes, but they also saw the pomegranates and figs. When they went into the valley they chose to focus on the fruit and not on the obstacles. They saw opportunity in the valley. They saw blessings in the valley. They saw Kingdom things in the valley.
If you read the next chapter you will see that the congregation was ready to go back into Egyptian slavery after hearing the report of the spies. Nu 14:1 -4 “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!”Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
Many of us as Christians often say “that God is good all the time”. That certainly is a true statement. When Caleb and Joshua were in the Valley of Eschol they chose to believe that God is good all of the time. They were ready to experience the goodness of God in the land of the living. The valley for them was a place of opportunity.
Just as there were giants in the land where God was leading Israel there will be giants in the valleys that we go through. When this happens, the devil will try to get us to return to the things that we were once in bondage to. It may be drugs. It may be sexual sin. It may be alcohol. It may be just plain old cold religion. Don’t go back. About four hundred years later a King that had spent a lot of time as a shepherd boy in the pastures and valleys would write this beautiful Psalm.
Ps 23:1-6 ¶ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.(NKJV)
I have found that praying through this Psalm is a big help to me when I go through the valley. May it be a help for you and may we all see the blessings of God when we walk through the valleys of life. Today enjoy the green pastures. Don’t walk in fear of the enemy as you go through the valley. Be assured that the God that we serve is bigger than any enemy that tries to hangout there. Remember God owns the valley the same as He owns the mountain.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that through Your death, burial, and resurrection that You own it all. We praise You that through faith in Your shed blood that we are never alone in the valley. We praise You for the green pastures. We thank you for the grapes and all of the good things that You have given us in the valley. May we share with others those great and awesome things!
In Jesus Name
Love you all!