Scripture Read: Numbers 13 - 14
Title: The Spies Check Out the Promised Land
(H) Highlight verse: "But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, 'Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.' Then the men who had gone up with them said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.'" Num. 13:30- 31
(E) Explain: God tells the Israelites to go and check out the land that He specifically said he is going to give to them. They went and saw that the land was flowing with milk and honey and he fruit was plenteous. They also saw that the people who dwelt in the land were intimidating. They saw there were giants and some enemies of Israel dwelling in the land. As they were instilling fear into the people Caleb speaks up and assures the Israelites that they could overcome the inhabitants. But the others said that there was no way, the people were more numerous and stronger. Caleb and Joshua later responds and tells the people "If the LORD delights in us, he will give it to us, he will bring us into this land flowing with milk and honey." Caleb and Joshua have faith that God will be their victor and defender. But the people didn't like their response was to have them stoned.
God's anger burns once again and he desires to destroy the nation and go back on his covenant, but Moses being the called leader he was interceded for the nation of Israel and reminded God of his faithfulness, promises, patience, goodness and kindness.
God responds with mercy, but not without judgment. Everyone, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua and the children under 20 would not enter the promised land. This was a punishment for their unbelief and distrust of God.
(A) Application: It can be so easy to read this passage and shake our heads and say, "Those Israelites, when will they learn to trust God? Can't they see that he is trustworthy?" But the reality is that we are just like them. I guess I shouldn't speak for you so I'll say, in reality I AM JUST LIKE THEM. I think back to the many instances where I did not trust God to pull through for me. I was so focused on the challenge that was right in front of me that I often thought in my heart, "There is no way God is going to come through for me on this one." God proves himself faithful over and over again and I think eventually I will get to the point some day (when I take my last breath) that I will fully believe this and not allow fear, worry and anxiety overtake me. We see throughout the Bible that God is faithful to do what he says he's going to do, and that is why we need to stay grounded in the Bible, because it shows us God's faithfulness time and time again.
(R) Respond: I will seek to cast my anxiety, worry, and fear aside and trust God today. He is faithful and I need to continually remind myself of this truth daily.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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