Is the land rich or poor?
Are there trees in it or not?
Moses asks them about the fruit of the land. This is no longer an assessment of the soil. Now, we look to the possibilities of the land.
Moses gave the explorers six questions and one instruction:
“Bring some of the fruit of the land.”
Then, we are told a detail that they were going to explore the land during the season of the first ripe grapes. Grapes, a biblical symbol of favor, fruitfulness, and fellowship with God, were ripe for the Israelites to experience and enjoy. The opportune time to possess God’s promise was at hand for the Israelites. Moses’s one clear instruction demonstrates the time was now for the Israelites to eat and see the fruitful possibilities of God’s promise.
Ten of the explorers saw the fruit of the land. They knew what the land could produce. Yet, from the beginning we see them limit the possibilities of the land.
The fruit of the land in their hands spoiled.
How often does the fruit God puts in our hands spoil?
How often do we destroy the potential God has entrusted to us?
They had the fruit in their hands. They ate the grapes. They knew the possibilities of the land. But they could not imagine the possibilities of God’s promises.
Our inability to imagine the possibilities God has for us can spoil the potential He has already placed in our hands.
Caleb and Joshua had a different experience. They could imagine the possibilities of God’s promises.
We learn that as the explorers were in the land, the came to the Valley of Eshcol. The Valley of Eschol is located in Mamre and associated with the Hebron region. A land where Abraham lived “among the oak trees” So, we know the land was rich and had trees – many trees.
What the explorers do next in this valley of many rich, fruiful trees is so significant, but ten of them didn’t fully realize the significance. They didn’t realize the potential they held in their hands.
The explorers cut down a single cluster of grapes. A single cluster of grapes so large and abundant, they had to carry it on a pole between two of them.
Scholars say that it’s possible the two explorers carrying the grapes on the pole were Caleb and Joshua. I’d love to believe that this is true and this was what made all the difference for Caleb and Joshua’s experience in the Promised Land. I’d love to say that they could imagine the possibilities of God’s promise, because they carried the potential with them.
Unfortunately, we weren’t there and we don’t know who the two men were who carried the single cluster of grapes. But what we do know is that a single cluster of grapes was carried out of the Promised Land. A single cluster so abundant marking the beginning of the potential of God’s promise.
Caleb could imagine the possibilities.
Can you imagine the possibilities of God’s promises?
Can you carry the beginnings of God’s promises in your hands and imagine that there is more?
The season of the first ripe grapes is here!
Our exploration of the land ought to be an imagination of the possibilities.
In the tension together,
P.S. To explore the story of Caleb more in depth, stay tuned for my new book: Color Me Yellow // Finding Your Voice in the Tension between God’s Promises and their Fulfillment
Questions to ponder:
- How will you hold the fruit that God has placed in your hands?
- How will you imagine the possibilities of a new season?