“And do not fear the people of the land. For they are our bread.”
– Num. 14.9
It is not only children’s bibles which reduce the spy narrative of Numbers 13-14 to a spiritual lesson about obedience, faith in God, or overcoming great obstacles – conveniently bypassing the literal divine command to kill all the existing inhabitants. Here’s a funny passage from Watchman Nee, China’s Billy Graham:
The inhabitants of the land were admittedly ‘men of great size’, but in Caleb’s eyes, they were food for God’s people… Our bread is not only the word of God, our meat is not only to do his will, our bread is also the Anakim – the difficulties that are in our way. Many people take the word of God as their bread and the doing of his will as their meat, but they have not eaten the Anakim. Many eat too little of the Anakim. The more we eat the Anakim, the stronger we will become. Caleb is a grand illustration of this. Because he accepted the Anakim as ‘bread’, he was still full of vitality at the age of eighty-five. His strength was the same at eighty-five as it was at forty. So many Anakim had been assimilated by him over the years that he had developed a constitution which showed no trace of age. This is also true in the spiritual realm.
– Watchman Nee, God’s Keeping Power, 6-7