You might believe me if I told you that there are a group of small birds that are no longer than fifteen and one half inches and weigh in at only four ounces which is about the same as holding twenty U.S. quarters. However, what if I told you that every year they leave their nesting grounds in the Arctic Circle near the North Pole and begin their journey to the opposite end of the earth.
Wow! A long way to fly don't you think? And, if they were at the Equator, they could fly around the world more than twice. Each year the Arctic Tern covers a distance of 22,000 miles in it's migratory flight.
Not all Arctic Terns live in the same place in the Arctic, so they don't all fly the same distance when they migrate. Still scientists studying the Arctic Terns put tiny devices, called geolocators, on their legs so they can track the birds during migration.
One group of Terns actually flew from the United Kingdom to Antarctica and then back again for a total distance of almost 60,000 miles!! On average, scientists found that the Arctic Tern flies approximately 56,000 miles during migration.
Now Arctic Terns live for over 30 years, that means that these tiny, lightweight birds fly so many miles that if it were possible they could actually fly to the moon and back, not just once - not just twice but three or four times!
This accomplishment would be the greatest in their history. Nothing hindered them from completing the task -- absolutely nothing, that is, except a strange decision which their leader, Moses had recently made.
Rather than taking God at His word, he listened to the people, deciding it would be wise to exercise caution before taking the next step. Accordingly, he selected twelve men to go in and spy out the land while the nation waited anxiously for their return.
Ten of the spies lacked determination and brought home a bleak report. Two of the other spies returned with them, but their report was in sharp contrast to that of the other ten.
Their great faith and desire to accomplish this national dream gave them the determination to assure the people that with God's help, the land could be theirs. But, the two men were outnumbered and the people, decided that the task was too large for them, and they chose not to go into the land.
As a consequence, God sent a series of tragic events which plunged the nation into despair. And because of their disobedience and lack of confidence in Him, the Lord crushed their hopes of ever achieving this goal.
One of the two men was sickened by his nation's lack of faith. He carefully reviewed what he would have done had he been the leader.
A few years later this very man, Joshua was chosen to assume leadership. Now he had his opportunity to put into operation the plan of action that would allow the nation of Israel to conquer the land as God intended all along.
He called upon two trusted men and gave them instructions. They were to do what the original group of twelve had done many years earlier, but from a different perspective.
The men did their job well and returned with the information and the Israelites moved ahead. In the years that followed they conquered and subdued all the nations which occupied the land God had given to them. Why? Because they didn't give up!
What factor had caused Moses to fail to keep going forward ? And what caused Joshua to succeed? The first group of twelve made their mistake when they spied out the entire land. The total job of conquering these nations had overwhelmed them.
Joshua had learned to complete a seemingly impossible task by concentrating on smaller, achievable goals. He sent his two men out to spy on only one area and one city at a time.
So Joshua was able to take the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from wars! (You can read the entire account in: Deuteronomy 1:19-38 and Joshua 11:15-23)