Shammua.  Shaphat.  Igal.  Palti.  Gaddiel.  Gaddi.  Amiel.  Sethur.  Nahbi.  Geuel.

Do these names mean anything to you?  Even if you recognized the spelling as being consistent with the transliteration of other familiar Hebrew names, the chances are not very great that you connected them with any particular story from the Old Testament.

What about Joshua and Caleb?  Well, sure!  Those two names mean something to us!  Just by mentioning Joshua and Caleb, you have likely figured out that the names above are those of the other ten tribal representatives who were sent by Moses on a 40-day reconnaissance mission into the land of Canaan (Numbers 13).  The names of the other ten spies have fallen into obscurity because of their negative report to their fellow Israelites and their disbelief in God’s ability to give them the land of promise.  Their words were so thoroughly and convincingly negative that the congregation of Israel wept, started developing a plan to return to Egypt, and even considered stoning Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb.  God’s punishment upon the people for their lack of faith in His power and promise was that they would have to wait 40 years to possess the land, one year for every day of the spies’ mission.  Rather than gradually perishing in the wilderness over the next 4 decades with the rest of their generation, the ten faithless spies were immediately struck down before the Lord by a plague.

It is interesting that the ten spies were exposed to the very same realities on their mission as were seen and experienced by Joshua and Caleb.  They all saw the grapes, pomegranates, and figs from the valley of Eshcol.  The ten did not deny that the land was amazingly fruitful and truly “flowing with milk and honey,” but they chose to focus on the obstacles and challenges: the large, fortified cities and the “big and tall” people of the land, before whom they considered themselves as mere grasshoppers.  They failed to consider that the sons of Anak were like grasshoppers before the Almighty God of Israel.

We remember Joshua for powerful statements of faith and devotion like, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15).

Caleb, even at the age of 85, had enough confidence in the strength of the Lord to say, “Give me this mountain!” (Joshua 14:12).

As for Shammua, Shaphat, Igal and the rest of the Terrified Ten, their names have been relegated to the fringes of Bible trivia.   

Our mind-set and perspective do not alter the realities around us, but our attitude is vitally involved in determining whether we will be victims of circumstance or victors over circumstances in our lives through faith and reliance on God.

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