Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.
So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there. At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.
And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Sometimes I feel like a glutton when I am hungry by ten in the morning after already eating breakfast earlier. I can readily identify with the practices of the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings series of books (and movies) by J.R.R. Tolkien. Frodo Baggin’s friend and traveling companion Samwise Gamgee (“Sam”) is shocked when they will have to ration out food. He remembers fondly the regular times of first breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, lunch, after lunch, etc. Frodo cuts him off before he can describe in detail all the delicious traditions of multiple snacks. When we travel, my family knows that I am the first one to usually ask when and where we are eating or snacking. I have been told that eating every three hours in reasonably small portions is quite healthy and has even helped some to lose weight. To that end, I am not sure, but we Americans do like our obsession with food. We like the abundance of food so much that I wonder if we can identify with the wander families of Israelites hoping upon hope that God’s promises will finally come true. Will God finally give them “a land flowing with milk and honey”? They rejoice as they seem to find a “yes” to the regular questioning of hunger and gathering for bits of sustenance.
Are we so constantly full that we cannot think of a time that we were hungry? Are we so surrounded by flowing sweetness that we can not understand what it means to find a place where we can understand what it means to life in safety and security? Surely there is more to life than eating and knowing that there is enough around us for our next meal. What does God have in mind for us in terms of abundance? Do you have enough to share and help and give? Do you have enough to help insure the safety and security of God’s children around you (both near and far)?
About 870 million people are estimated to have been
undernourished in the period 2010–12. This represents
12.5 percent of the global population, or one in eight
people. The vast majority of these – 852 million – live in
developing countries, where the prevalence of
undernourishment is now estimated at 14.9 percent of the
population [Executive Summary from FAO.org].