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Summary: It is always "happy ending" for those who rise above "see level"... fueled by their trust in the "Good Lord" ...

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RISING ABOVE THE ‘ SEE LEVEL’

Yes, you got me all right (there is no spelling error in the penultimate word of the above-title). I am not referring to some balloon-aided visit to a high mountaintop. Rather the need for all of us to rise (propelled by trust) to that level of discernment, which goes beyond visualizing what merely, meets the eye. Hey, it would serve us well to understand at this stage the difference between "Trust" and "Faith" in Biblical parlance. While "Faith" would have you believe in one God, TRUST would have you believe that this one God is a good God having your best interests in His heart !!!

TALE OF TWO SALESMEN

Before coming to the Biblical text of my message, I would like to recite the tale of 2 footwear salesmen sent on a ‘Market survey’ errand by their employers to explore the possibility of opening a shop in a certain village of their country. As opening a shop entails sizeable investment, their footwear firm wanted these men to survey the market potential available therein & give the feasibility report thereof. However, when these men reached that particular village to assess the potential, they were in for a surprise. None in that village wore any footwear! On seeing the bare-footed residents of that village, the first salesman immediately wired a message to the HQ of his firm asserting that a footwear venture in that village would be totally an unviable proposition. However, the second salesman viewed the same situation positively. He wired a message to his HQ urging his firm to immediately open a shop in that village before any of their competitors do since according to him there was a vast untapped potential waiting to be tapped. No prizes for guessing whose report won the acclaims of the management!

The second salesman simply put, rose above his ‘natural see level’ & saw opportunities, which the other did not know existed, entrenched as he was at his natural ‘see level’.

THE BIBLICAL EQUIVALENT...

Now coming to the Bible equivalent of this story. Ever tried to find out why the desert sojourn of the redeemed people (from Egyptian bondage) of Israel took 40 long years? Surely distance between these 2 places could not have been a factor even given the fact there were no means of modern transport available to them? So what really was the reason? Intertwined with this subject is a case of 2 types of ‘salesmen’ or the ‘market surveyors’ of those times. The positive & the negative ones’.

The 13th & 14th chapters of the Book of Numbers provide the answers to the above-questions. At the beginning of 13th chapter, we see the people of Israel at the threshold of the Promised Land with the clear instruction from their redeemer God to war against those nations in that land of Canaan & annihilate them. It must be noted here that these Canaanite nations having sold themselves to all kinds of vileness including perverse sexual relationship with animals (oh the horror of it all - Lev20: 15-23) were at that time ripe for God’s punishment (Genesis 15:16).

However at the request of the people (Deuteronomy 1:22) to initially send spies to that blessed land so as to formulate the military strategy later on the basis of their report (which cities in that land to conquer first, which to invade later…so on & so forth), Moses obtains God’s approval towards that request and sends 12 spies (one from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) for "this classified task".

Verse 25 of the 13th chapter of Numbers 13 says that these spies were at their work for 40 days exploring the land thoroughly, marveling as much at its fertility as quavering (this applies to at least 10 of the spies) at the massive physique of its residents. Bible commentators point out from the cluster of grapes they brought with them as a sample (verse 23) that their mission would have started in August & concluded in September coinciding as it was with the traditional grape harvest season of that land.

No harm done, when the majority of the spies on coming back from their mission extol the bountiful nature of the land. So far, so good. But it is when they (10 of them) speak about the build & strength of its residents that their knees start jerking. Just as holiness is not contagious but impurity is (Haggai 2:13), cowardice is infectious, bravery isn’t! Just shout in a crowded mall that a fire has broken out & you would understand, what I am driving at. The people of Israel were no different from the modern-day crowd in a mall who would run helter-skelter on hearing a fire alarm. The public frenzy & the mass panic reaction that follows amongst the people of Israel as they contemplate warring against ‘giants’ is at best regrettable, since it culminates in a rebellious consensus being arrived at of ‘going back to Egypt’ (Numbers13: 32-Numbers:14:4). Yes, strange as it may seem, the tragic consensus is of going back to that ‘very land, from where they sought deliverance’, after experiencing so much of His FAITHFUL , PROTECTIVE CARE so far. How often, a Christian faces the temptation of going back to the world of sin, whenever the daunting prospect of battling ‘some giants’ looms before him/her. These ‘giants’ for a Christian are however highly subjective. They may range from an unpleasant prospect of being ex-communicated by the family members for embracing a faith of the lower caste people (in the Indian context) to the need of stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’ on having been called to full-time work from the pleasant & secure environs of a lucrative job in a flourishing public sector enterprise (again in the Indian context).

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