Summary: Numbers 13 – 14 tells the story of a people called Israel. They had come to a comfortable place at Kadesh Barnea. God had given them everything they needed but now He was getting ready to call them out of their comfort zone.
“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:31-33)
Larry Walters always wanted to be a pilot but eyesight only allowed him to be a mechanic in the Air Force. After retirement, he got an idea one day. At the Army Surplus store he bought a tank of helium and forty-five weather balloons. He strapped the balloons to his lawn chair which he had staked to the ground. Larry expected to drift slowly up for a few minutes. When he cut the rope holding him to the ground his chair shot up rapidly, finally leveling off at eleven thousand feet. Eventually a Coast Guard helicopter got a line to him and towed him to the ground and safety. When asked why he did it he said, “A man can’t just sit around all his life.”
Numbers 13 – 14 tells the story of a people called Israel. They had come to a comfortable place at Kadesh Barnea. God had given them everything they needed but now He was getting ready to call them out of their comfort zone.
I. THE CHALLENGE
A. God Initiated This challenge (Numbers 13:1-16)
The first verses of this chapter makes it plain that it was God who was sending His people into this place; “the land of Canaan which I am giving to the children of Israel”. Not only that but it was God Who prepared what they would find when they got there. He had already created the blessings (a land that flowed with milk and honey) and the problems (giants in the land). God was in total control of this situation.
B. God’s People Investigated the Challenge (Numbers 13:17-25)
They chose representatives to go in and spy out the land God was calling them to. At Moses’ direction they were to investigate three things: What kind of people were they facing? (v.18) What kind of land were they entering? (v.19a) – What kind of strongholds did they face? (v.19b). It is important to note that God’s people were obedient at the beginning of this challenge. Some Bible students are going to be upset with me when I say this. They know that Israel is going to fail this test later. But Israel was obedient in the first thing.
There are several implications to see in this passage. First: God is in control of the challenges He puts before us. Notice that verse two says, the land …I am giving. This is stated in the present tense even though Israel had not yet even entered the Promised Land. The principle here is simple and yet missed by so many Christians. We are called to do much for God but He has already prepared the way for us to do all of those things. All we are called to do is to walk in obedience so God can accomplish those things in us through His power.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Not only is God in control but He also never glosses over the implications of following Him. The Lord sent spies into the land first so they could see what they were getting into. Christ never glossed over the challenges that face us if we chose to follow Him. In Luke Nine, Jesus honestly let His disciples then and now see what giants face us if we decide to follow Him:
·Some will reject our faith (Luke 9:1-6).
·There will be work to do in sharing the gospel (vv.10-17).
·We will have to learn what God’s agenda is to follow Him (vv.27-36).