As I roamed the wooded areas of the 4-H camp in Crossville where my dad was the manager, I soon learned there was nowhere for me to hide. I had no way to care for myself, so I eventually had to go back home and face the dreaded conference with my dad. Much to my surprise, he wasn’t that hard on me at all. In fact, it was my sister who received the bulk of correction for having provoked the situation. At the end of the day, that which filled me with insurmountable fear proved not to be nearly as bad as I imagined it. Obviously, there are much more harrowing experiences than mine, but in most cases our fears make the challenges we face appear larger than they really are. Most of the time, we are best served just to go ahead and do what is right. The children of Israel learned that lesson the hard way in Numbers 13-14.
As the spies went and viewed the land of Canaan and its inhabitants, they were thoroughly impressed by both. The land was everything God said it would be. However, the inhabitants God wanted them to oust were equally impressive in stature and fortification. In their own words, “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” (Num. 13:33). As a result, they caused the children of Israel to rebel and attempt to return to Egypt.
The trouble was, they had placed more stock in the power of the Canaanites than in the power of God. Joshua and Caleb tried to remind the people of God’s deliverance by His might, but they were already overcome with fear, and turned back from following (Num. 14:6-10). For their attempt to avoid death by the Canaanites, those who led the rebellion were put to death (Num. 14:26-38). The rest of that generation died in the wilderness, except for Joshua and Caleb. The people tried to run, but they soon found, there is no place to hide from the God of heaven (Psa. 139:7-12). At the end of the day, God will call every deed into account (Eccl. 12:14; 2 Cor. 5:10). So, as Paul said, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Cor. 5:11). Jesus said it best that we must “…not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28).
Since it is impossible to avoid struggles, pain, suffering, death, and the judgment, all there is to do is embrace the challenges of serving God courageously. In so doing, we will receive the peace of God which passes understanding as we do His will (Phil. 4:6-7). After all, there is nowhere to hide.