Everyone likes to feel that they belong and fit it. It makes no difference if it’s in a family, community or a gang. Everyone wants to belong; belonging means to be accepted as part of the group. This allows the group member to bond and establish a connection. As the connection grows, the bond becomes stronger.
There are benefits when you belong to a group. Many believe that individuals who are very connected lead happier lives. They have more support during their times of difficulty. Their connection can form a blanket around them during their hardship and buffer some of the stressors people face in life. There is also a feeling of security because you know there are those who will not abandon you in your time of need.
Unfortunately, there are some who don’t have that connection and don’t fit into the community or family. There is no help in their distress. They feel alone, abandoned and lacking in value. It is believed that the isolation of being an outsider, can lead some into destructive activities. Someone who is isolated is more likely to be self-destructive and engage in negative behavior. So if you are a member of a community, you will do all you can to remain. Our history is full of examples of people who stayed in communities that were harmful; some lost their families while others lost their lives.
Sometimes, it’s not so simple. There are those who make a choice to leave the safety of the group and stand alone. These decisions are not easy and are not taken lightly. There are times in life when everyone has to make the choice to stand alone. Two young men had to make this decision. They broke from the group and stood alone.
Israel was on the journey from Egypt to a place chosen by God. Numbers 13:2 says, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” So there were twelve men who went on this mission to explore Canaan. Now God told them that He was giving them the land. Their responsibility was to explore; to go and take a look. That was their mission.
Moses gave them some directives before they left. He wanted them to check out the land, the people, the soil, the crops and the walls. So off they went. During their exploration, they looked at what they saw and forgot that the land they were exploring was already given to them by God. They lost sight of how great God is and focused on the size of the giants. They forgot that God parted the Red Sea and focused on the fact that the towns were large and fortified. So although, they admitted that the land was wonderful, they reported that the mission was impossible.
Well you can imagine the turmoil that report caused in the camp! The people were afraid because they forgot about the God who brought them to this placed and focused on how they were unable to possess the land. Ten of the twelve said it was impossible. But Joshua and Caleb stood alone. Verse 30 says, “But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
Joshua and Caleb never lost sight of who God is. They remembered all the wonderful things he had done in the past and they were looking forward to what He was about to do. Sadly, the camp listened to the voices of the majority and disobeyed God. God punished them severely. They explored the land for forty days so they had to remain in the wilderness for forty years, one year for every day. While it’s great to belong, it’s more important to do what is right. Yes there is safety in numbers, however, Exodus 23:2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” There are times when it’s important to stand alone.