I watched the fire blaze and flicker as I listened to the low voices of the other spies. It was our last night in Canaan.
“The fortification of the cities is impressive. Why, Jericho alone is inpenetrable.” I saw several nod in agreement.
“The sheep and goats are the highest quality and their milk is the creamiest I have ever tasted!” He smacked his lips as if he could taste it now.
“The soil is rich. So different than Egypt.” This man’s eyes widened as he remembered. “And the fruit… never have I seen such fruit.”
“Or tasted. I admit I expected such huge fruit to be watery and tasteless… or worse, bitter. But it’s sweeter than I expected.” It was said grudgingly.
One man licked his lips. “Speaking of sweet, there is yet another hollow tree dripping with honey. I had forgotten what fresh bread with honey tastes like.”
Joshua beamed at me. I had shared my concern with him… that few seemed to be eager to take this bountiful land… but the reports they shared now were for the most part very upbeat.
Then one of the men stood. I wrapped my arms around myself and dropped my eyes to watch the fire.
“What is Moses thinking? Did he lead us here to let us die in the hands of men worse than the Egyptians?” I sighed. This was the talk I had been overhearing. “Didn’t anyone else see those giants? Men several feet taller than the tallest Israelite. Arms bigger around than my body. Legs like trees. We watched them in secret but we all fled when they started worshiping their gods in orgies, child sacrifices, and sorcery.”
“Yes.” Another spoke. “I tried to steal the spear of one of the giants but I couldn’t even lift it.”
“And there are so many of them.” I shivered at the whiney sound of this voice.
“We have no weapons that would even chip those walls around Jericho. How can the Lord expect us to defeat such enemies?” Such a derisive tone. I stole a peek at Joshua. Instead of the righteous anger I expected… or even the discouragement I felt... he stared thoughtfully at the stars.
“I am afraid as well.” My head shot up along with the bushy eyebrows my brothers loved to yank to wake me up. “Yes… I see all you saw. The good and the evil. But has the Lord God not promised this land to us? He will make a way. He has said to me, ‘Do not fear.’ He has said it often.”
Joshua chuckled softly and scratched his chin through his beard. “Why does He need to repeat it so often? Because I am filled with fear and would choose to run and hide. But He also promises to be with us, to go before us, to encompass our path.” Now his eyes dropped back to us. They flicked from one man to the next. When he paused to look into my eyes, he smiled. “I say we enter the land and take it as the Lord shows. He will make a way.”
The next morning we cut a small tree and picked some of the finest examples of fruit. Grapes, pomegranates, and figs. We draped them over the sapling and it took all of us to carry it to the camp. I watched the others and listened as we walked. My heart sank when I realized that they had not seen things as Joshua and I. Their talk was of the giants and the cities with their fortifications. Jericho and the great walls around it. The masses of people and the warriors.
I had fallen in love with the land the Lord was providing, yet as I looked around, I felt as if I was saying goodbye. Joshua and I would face the giants with our people but would they be willing? I was afraid I was seeing the last glance of our promised land. Yet I knew, even in that, the Lord God would say…” Do not fear.”
Now… years later, Joshua and I are the only ones still alive from that day. Together, we stand before Jericho. The trumpets and shouts of our people are muffled as the very walls of Jericho crash down at our feet. I watch them crumble and remember my first sight of this city. The tears wash the dust of Jericho from my eyes as I rejoice to be here to see the last of it.
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