Summary: This is a vision casting message based on the report that Joshua and Caleb brought back from the Promised Land
A very familiar video clip. (Used clip from first Star Wars movie, a New Hope, at the beginning of the movie from just before Darth Vader comes aboard Ship until R2D2 and C3PO escape in pod) Most of you are the right age to have seen the original Star Wars in the theatre; I saw it five times when it first came out. As I’ve watched the re-releases as well as the latest episodes I have developed a little more insight into my two favourite characters, the two androids, C3P0 and R2D2. I realized that I wouldn’t mind having a whole church full of R2D2s. What a neat little guy, you know he’s the one that looks like a trash can on wheels. R2 is always looking on the bright side of things, always ready to help out where he can, sees a solution in every problem a silver lining behind every cloud. His friend C3P0 is the cyborg, looks a little bit like a human and has some of the worst human traits. He’s always looking on the dreary side of life, doesn’t want to help anyone but himself and sees a problem in every solution a cloud in front of every silver lining. Marlin Mull was in charge of new church development for the Wesleyan Church when we began BCC and he once told me that there were two types of people in every church, the go-ers and the whoa-ers. Well R2D2 is a typical go-er and C3P2 is a classic whoa-er.
People like that have always been around. In the scripture that was read this morning we got a great glimpse into human nature. Most of us know the story. Moses has sent 12 Spies into the Promised Land with instructions to do what spies do best, spy. He wanted to know who lived there, were they strong or weak were there lots of them or just a few, did they live in little villages or big fortified cities. What was the economy like was it a wealthy land or a poor land. And when he got all through giving instructions he said, “Oh by the way bring me back some fruit.” Now I don’t know why Moses wanted fruit, maybe it was so he could see what the produce was like or maybe it was because he hadn’t had a grape for a while. I don’t know
Well you now what happened right? They spied out the land, found grapes so big it took two men to carry back one cluster and they came back to report what they had found. We can read about their findings in Numbers 13:27This was their report to Moses: “We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof. From that point on the story progresses like a good news bad news joke.
The spies start by saying “What a land, you just wouldn’t believe what a beautiful land it was. And the fruit, I mean just look at this there are grapes as big as softballs.” And everyone was excited and they were like “Wow this is great, Margaret pack your suitcase we going to the Promised Land.” Not so fast because the rest of the story comes out in the next verse Numbers 13:28 But (one of the hard and fast rules of Biblical Exegesis is that after the but comes the truth.) the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large. We also saw the descendants of Anak who are living there!
“Wow, hey Margaret you really didn’t want to go to the Promised Land anyways did you?” Now this may have been a majority opinion but it wasn’t a unanimous opinion. You see Joshua and Caleb said “Hey if that’s the land that God wants us to have then that’s the land that God will give us.” You see that is the reality of life, some people are eternal optimists, like R2D2 and others are eternal pessimists like C3P0. The optimist is the person who sees the glass half full, the pessimist sees the glass half empty. There are other reactions to the glass as well, the idealist says “the glass should be full”, the anarchist says “break the glass” and the capitalist says “sell the glass”.
An optimist is defined as the guy who fell off a twenty story building and when he went by the third floor he was heard to say, “So far, so good”. On the other hand the pessimist is the guy who blows out the candle just to prove how dark the room is.
The fact that ten out of twelve of the spies were pessimists probably isn’t all that surprising when we look at society as a whole. That however shouldn’t be the case with the people of God. It’s unfortunate though that shouldn’t and “isn’t” are two different words. You would think that after all the miracles that God had performed bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt. Starting with the parting of the Red Sea, and feeding the nation with Manna and Quail from heaven. The water that poured out of solid rock and the column of smoke that guided them during the day and pillar of fire they followed at night. You’d think that with all of that in their history that even the pessimists would have been convinced, but nooooooo. They still doubted the power of God to provide what he had promised.