“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” Proverbs 13:20

Numbers 13-14 tell about the twelve leaders of the Israelite tribes who were sent as spies to explore the land of Canaan in advance of a planned conquest. Two of the twelve spies, Caleb and Joshua, brought back a report in which they insisted that the Israelites could take possession of the land (cf. Numbers 13:30; 14:6-8). The other ten spies tried to kibosh the plan. If I’m to paraphrase, they essentially said, “Listen guys. Here’s the facts. Let’s be realistic. It can’t be done” (cf. Numbers 13:31-33).

That’s all it took – just ten pessimists. They became a greater obstacle to the Israelites than the giants and walled cities on the other side of the Jordan. Negative counsel has that effect. It can prevent God’s children from experiencing His best for their lives. It can hinder or slow His plans. It can restrict access into a place flowing with milk and honey. It can obstruct a great work that God wants to accomplish. It can cause struggles and suffering in a wilderness of despair. It can delay the conquering of spiritual territory. It can limit the potential we have in God. It can freeze out revival. It can curb God’s blessings. It can stir up discord. It can cause thousands to stop short of abundant life. And it can adversely affect the destiny of an individual, a family, a church, a community, or a country.

It doesn’t take much. Numbers 13-14 indicate how the enemies of God weren’t the Jebusites or Amorites. The Jordan wasn’t the great barrier that kept the people out of the Promised Land. Jericho’s walls didn’t stop the Israelites. God’s enemies weren’t on the outside they were on the inside. They were ten men who, after seeing God’s miracles in the Exodus from Egypt, should have known better. Ten men who said, “We can’t do it. It’s just not possible. We’ll never be victorious.” Ten negative men. Ten whiners who were out of touch with God. Ten losers who couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Ten melancholics who had an influence and used it the wrong way. Ten men who spread “a bad report about the land they had explored” Numbers 13:32. Ten nay-sayers who said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are” Numbers 13:31.

So watch out for negative advice. Be on your guard against ungodly pessimists. Beware of carnal counsel. Don’t listen to backsliders who have a narrow or minimal view of God. For it doesn’t take a great multitude to limit the work of the Lord. One un-surrendered believer can set you on the wrong path and just a few unspiritual people can obstruct the good things God is wanting to accomplish in and through His people.

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