Summary: Moses sends out the 12 spies into Canaan. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). Their Opportunity - Special.

(2). Their Outlook - Small.

(3). Their Opposition.- Strong

(4). Their Omnipotence.- Sovereign

(5). Their Outcome.- Sad.



• The bishop’s car ran out of petrol,

• His wife, who was a passenger remembered seeing a garage half a mile back down the road.

• He got out the car and started to search the boot of the car for a container,

• But the only one he could find was his baby grandson’s potty - so that had to do!

• He trudged to the petrol station,

• Then carefully carried it back with a full container of petrol.

• And started to carefully pour the contents from the potty into the petrol tank.

• Driving by was the leader of a new independent church,

• Recognised a fellow Christian in need and stopped his car to offer-help.

• As he approached he saw the bishop pouring the contents of the potty into the tank.

• The man-gasped and said:

• ’If I’d known they had faith like that in the Church of England I’d never have left!’

Question: What is faith?


• Faith is simply taking God at his word!

• And there is nothing new about it.

• Throughout all generations God has deliberately withheld the evidence of things visible;

• So that people would have to trust in his promise and believe him!

Now There are two sides to faith

• Saving faith.

• Experimental faith.

• Saving faith is primary and fits us for heaven.

• Experimental faith is secondary and fits us for earth.

• Saving faith is intangible (it cannot be measured).

• Experimental faith is tangible (it produces results that can be tested).

• But remember the order:

• Saving faith needs to come first.


• It occurs when a person understands that they cannot save themselves;

• That through the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ;

• He has done all that is needed to secure our salvation

• Saving faith is therefore passive;

• It requires nothing but belief and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

• And just like when we are offered a gift – we receive it or reject it!


• It is active;

• It too focuses on Jesus and is inspired into activity.

• We seek to do what he has told us to do!

• And whenever a Christian exercises faith:

• They are giving evidence to the world;

• That God can be trusted and that he keeps his word;


• We will see this morning that both Joshua & Caleb had faith,

• While the rest of the nation, sadly did not!

• Only these 2 men out of a population of about 2 million people;

• Exercised real faith!


• We pick-up the story of Moses when Moses and the Hebrew people:

• Are at Kadesh Barnea – this is the last oasis in the Negav desert;

• It is 66 miles south-west of the Dead Sea (today it is called Ain Qudeist).

• It is just before Canaan – the Promised Land.

• It has taken them one year, one month and one week, since leaving Egypt.

• To arrive at this point.

• And they now have the opportunity that they have longed for, for so-long;

• A chance to occupy the land that had been promised to their forefathers.

• There it was right in front of them! So close they could smell it and almost touch it!

• This was their moment in history! This was their time!

• All they need to do was to seize the opportunity!

Note: verse 1:

• God tells them to send out 12 spies. One from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

• In military terms they are going to do a recognisance.

• They are to check out the area, to see what is there,

• So that they might know how best to plan out the invasion as they claim their land.

As a wise leader Moses needs to know certain information as he plans his next move:

• Verse 18-19: He wants to know what the land is like.

• Is the soil fertile or poor, are their trees in the land or not.

• He even requests that they bring some of the fruit back for him to taste and enjoy.

• He wants to know if the people who live there are many or few.

• Are they weak or strong?

• Do they dwell in tents or in fortified cities?

• Verses 21-23: tells us where they went exploring:

• Verse 25 tells us that, their exploring lasted for forty days.

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