I know, I know: Scotland isn’t the Promised Land… #indyref
Twelve men went to spy in Canaan,
Ten were bad, two were good
What do you think they saw in Canaan?
Ten were bad and two were good.
Some saw giants big and tall.
Some saw grapes in clusters fall.
Some saw God was in it all.
Ten were bad and two were good!
In Numbers chapter 13, we hear the reports of the spies that went into Canaan. God had promised that the land was for his people; they just had to go and take it. The spies went to check out the land and brought back evidence that the land was indeed plentiful. They also brought back prejudice, fear, suspicion and pessimism. Only Caleb and Joshua looked on the bright side and looked at things while bearing in mind the promise from God that could and would prevail in the longer term.
At the start of 2014, knowing that we have a referendum on Scottish independence in September, knowing that I am going to get bored of the build up a long, long time before the actual vote – I am conscious that I am thinking about it against my will.
Are Salmond and Sturgeon playing the parts of the optimistic Joshua and Caleb? Am I one of the pessimistic spies that says, ‘Hey, let’s just go back into the desert and hang out for forty years or so until this faddy idea blows over.’
In place of grapes hanging in clusters looking plentiful, it is the oil waiting to be sooked up and sold that give the place that ‘flowing with milk and honey’ potential. On the down side, in place of the Nephilim looking large and immoveable, we have, I suppose ‘the English’ who are bigger and in control.
Despite knowing that, given the context of Canaan, I ‘should’ be on the side of Joshua and Caleb and look on the bright side, I am not. It’s not even that I am scared of the Nephilim. It’s not that I believe the doommongers about the economy.
First up, the bible story isn’t about promised lands in general, and a principle of optimism when about to take one. The bible story was about a specific promise at a specific time that those with faith took at God’s word and therefore could live out in confidence.
Scotland isn’t a promised land.
Secondly – I live here already. I’m already living in Scotland. The urge to take possession of the land is therefore kind of lost on me. It is completely brilliant. (Okay, so there is poverty, obesity, ignorance, illiteracy, pot-holes…) It is a land flowing with milk and honey: free personal care for the elderly, free buses for pensioners, free education, mountains, rivers, cities, arts, culture, peace, quality universities, freedom of religions, freedom of speech, equality…
We are already here.
Where the ten spies were sent back to go and stew in their own juice, I am quite happy to stew in my own juice post-referendum. It’ll be fine. I’m stewing in it already. And it’s fine.
Apparently, a majority of people want to see a TV debate between Alec Salmond and David Cameron. Really? Oof. I don’t think I could watch it. I’d maybe prefer a transcript after the fact…
For Joshua and Caleb, the realization of the vision was held back a generation, I think.
For Salmond? We are already in the land. A steady progression towards DevoMax is already underway. Why bother?
*enjoys a grape, content in the knowledge that some of the grapes in the cluster are English, Welsh and Northern Irish*