"As little children"

When the spies whom Moses sent out returned from their expedition into the promised land with a glowing account of its fruitage, Caleb exclaimed confidently, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." But with the exception of Joshua, who agreed with his views, Caleb's associates magnified the difficulties they must contend with, and discouraged the expectation of the people of immediately taking possession of the land to which the Israelites had been divinely guided after their exodus from Egypt. The consequence was that for forty years they wandered in the wilderness, until the thought of the people had reached the perception that with the aid of God they would be able to acquire the land of Canaan. Advancing then with this conviction, they entered the land, which thereupon became their settled abode.

A study of this incident, as given in the thirteenth and fourtheenth chapters of Numbers, reveals the fact that the people, generally, not only lacked faith in God, but were evilly disposed, as exemplified in their treatment of Caleb and Joshua when these two men endeavored to encourage them to exercise true faith in God's ability and willingness to aid them. By reason of this, they were to be debarred from ever entering the promised land; whereas Caleb, because of the trustful spirit he manifested, and Joshua, it is to be presumed for the same reason, would go in and abide there with those who at that time were but children.

This incident brings vividly to thought Jesus' statement, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." What was it that kept the children of Israel from entering straightway into the land of Canaan, when on the first occasion they arrived at its borders? Was it not undesirable mental qualities? Yet, aroused by righteous denunciation, they finally became willing to attempt an entrance; but their leader, Moses, perceived that the erroneous mental characteristics must first be uprooted. The evil beliefs must be destroyed; for only that which partook of the nature of God's true children could enter the promised land.

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Spiritual Healing
February 16, 1929

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