Week Twelve: Day 5

    March 29, 2024 | Be God's Light

    Spies Explore the Promised Land

    Scripture: Numbers 13:1-2, 17-33(NIV)

    1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”

    17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

    21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.

    26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

    30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

    31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”


    Even before the Israelites left Egypt, God promised them, “And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord” (Exodus 6:8). The land of Israel was God’s Promised Land.

    Now it was time to explore that land and its people, towns, and landscape. It makes sense to check things out before taking action. In Luke 14:28-30 Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” It is prudent to be prepared.

    The exploration team was gone for forty days. When they returned, there were two different perspectives. Ten of the spies warned their fellow Israelites that they didn’t have a chance against the more powerful people already in the land. They admitted that the land and its produce were very good. But they saw themselves as inferior to the bigger, stronger people who lived there.

    Joshua and Caleb gave the minority report. Here’s what they said:

    “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)

    “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.” (Numbers 14:8)

    “Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9)

    In retrospect, we know that Joshua and Caleb were right, while the other ten were wrong. How do you discern what is good advice from bad? How do you know whether the majority or the minority has it right? What did Joshua and Caleb say in their report that should have given the people confidence? What gives you confidence as you make hard decisions?



    Over here!
    Check this out!
    Make sure they don't see you...
    Leave no tracks.
    Blaze the trail.
    Find their camp.
    Mark their strength.
    Scan the land.
    Wow, the bounty!
    See the grapes?
    Milk and honey
    Stomach rumble
    Such abundance!
    Water fresh
    Fields of cattle
    House of bricks
    Dare we enter?
    Dare we try?
    What's the risk?
    Will we die?
    Let's retreat.
    Tuck back the tree
    Tread so softly.
    Cross back

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