Summary: Do you feel like giving up? Take the example of Caleb. There is no such thing as permament failure.

Give Me This Mountain!

A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom. The little boy turned to his mother and said, "Mama, I don’t want to go out there. It’s dark." The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. "You don’t have to be afraid of the dark," she explained. "Jesus is out there. He’ll look after you and protect you." The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, "Are you sure he’s out there?" "Yes, I’m sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him," she said. The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the darkness, he called, "Jesus? If you’re out there, would you please hand me the broom?"

Change and uncertainty is tough for many of us. We don’t like it. It hurts, it makes us uncomfortable, it requires effort and faith to adapt to new situations. It is so much easier when things remain the same.

I want us to look at a person who was very unique in the bible. One who was a young man when the Exodus started, he was one of only two who had left Egypt as an adult who actually arrived in the promised land 40 years later. He had the unique distinction of being one of the 12 spies who entered the promised land 39 years before, who didn’t see giants, but saw a land flowing with milk and honey. He was adaptable because he saw life through the eyes of faith.

Last week, I said that “Faith is faith when God is all we are holding onto.” I shared the illustration of the kitten holding onto the basket by her claws. As you and I look at 2003 and the uncertainties that it holds, we must learn to walk by faith.

1. Faith focuses on the possibilities, the potential, not the problems

2. Faith relies on God’s abilities, not our own abilities

3. Faith is not content with the path of least resistance, but asks for the mountain!

Numbers 13:17-20 “ When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, "Go up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country. "See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong {or} weak, whether they are few or many. "How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are {they} like {open} camps or with fortifications? "How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.”

1. Spies sent in:

a. Caleb is one of those leaders - the recognized leader of the tribe of Judah, largest of the 12 tribes. He is about 40 years old. And he sets out on the mission with the other 11 leaders, one from each tribe.

b. They are on a mission to explore Canaan, the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey.

i. The Hebrew language has two words for spying.

1. One (latour) means to seek good and has the same root as the modern Hebrew word for "Tourist" (tayyar). Tourists look for good things to enjoy wherever they go. Singaporeans love to be tourists.

2. But the other word for spy (leragel) means to look for weaknesses.

a. Later in Joshua 2, the second Hebrew word for spy - "seeking out weaknesses" is used, when Joshua prepares to invade Canaan after Moses’ death. Two spies are sent out, who stay with Rahab the prostitute as they seek out weaknesses in preparation for conquest.

3. But that is not the task of the 12. They are not there to spy out the problems.

a. They are to first examine the potential, the possibilities, the abundance the land has to offer.

b. Moses to appoints a team to spy out the good -- to examine the resources of this land. They are to give a general report on what cities are available to be taken, what land is available and how fertile, and what people inhabit it.

c. Since they will be dividing up the land between the 12 tribes, it is important that representatives from all the tribes be in on this initial tour of the land. These leaders are to come back and ignite the hearts of the 12 tribes with delight as they reported the riches and the magnificence of the promised land.

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