Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Wed, 09/12/2009 – 12:38
Chapter: 13
Verse: 1 – 54

Years ago, when computers had few graphic qualities, it took quite a bit of imagination to visualize how the formatting in your document will be handled by the printer. Fortunately computers as well as the programmes improved, and the computer could show the final format on the screen. This novelty was called WYSIWYG = What You See (on the screen) Is What You Get (on paper). Nowadays this is taken for granted by any computer user.

For me WYSIWYG can also be applied to our walk in faith. This is demonstrated by the story of Numbers 13. What we see (or do not see) in faith is often what we will experience in real life.

The Israelites looked at the Promised Land, and what they saw were giants, fortified cities and semi-gods! (Verses 28, 29 and 31 – 33). Verse 33 talks about the ‘Nephilim’ who were men of ‘great size’ (verse 32). Compare Genesis 6:4, where the ‘Nephilim’ can be translated as semi-gods. What the Israelites saw is summarised in their outcry in verse 31. “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are!”

The next chapter tells us that this is exactly what they got. God ordered Moses and Israel to go back to the desert where they would have to stay for forty years (Numbers 14:28-30).

If only they had listened to Caleb and Joshua! They also saw what the others saw, but they saw more: That the Lord keeps his promises (Numbers 13:30 and 14:8)! They saw that the Lord is greater than these giants.

The story reminds me of how much emphasis there often is on fear in “Christian messages” that warn people about HIV and AIDS. People certainly have to be warned and the churches specifically have to warn the youth against dangers. But when this is done with the emphasis on fear, doesn’t it start to sound too much like the messages of the ten scouts?

What the churches make young people “see” will probably correlate with the adults they will “get”.

Shouldn’t we rather intentionally look for what Caleb’s and Joshua’s message means in the context of the HIV pandemic?

Language: English