This book covers the forty years that the Children of Israel spent in the wilderness until the old generation died out and a new one was ready to march into the land.
It starts with all the pomp of organizing the Israelites into units and subdivisions, administered by its hierarchies, given their positions and marching orders in preparation for the invasion of Canaan. The people were thus knocked into shape, in place, with banners flying, an impressive array.
But the whole thing fell apart because the morale was not there. After the spies returned the people backed off. The slaves still thought like slaves. They were not ready to fight. It would take another forty years, a whole generation.
There’s a book called “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. In it she argues that success in life is not dependent on birth or brains or ambition, but rather on
Determination and pursuit of goals even in the face of adversity. Giving up is not an option.
That was what was missing when the Israelites initially faced the prospect of a tough fight. And it took forty years, a whole generation until the experience of living in the desert produced a different generation.
Outward shows of impressive strength are useless if the inner core is not really confident. It was the barren, gritty, dusty wilderness, where nothing happens, which was the crucible out of which a new gritty people emerged. It’s not just the raw material that counts as much as attitude. We may be outnumbered and under attack all the time. But with the will to succeed, great things can be achieved.