Summary: What can we learn about the massive failure of Israel at Kadesh, as recording in Numbers 13-14? How can we use the lessons of Kadesh to help us follow Christ and honor God?


God has called you to be a living testimony of His goodness and grace. You are to exemplify His character with integrity and love. You are to follow Christ by living out His word and teachings.

However, it too often becomes the norm that professing Christians live in unbelief and fear—living out an inconsistent, God-dishonoring testimony. Saying that you follow Christ, but do not follow His teachings—do not live according to His word—you put Christ to the test. You put to the test His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love. You put to the test His gracious plan for your life. You put to the test His promises and blessing.

The people of Israel, in the Old Testament, give to us powerful, vivid examples to this warning. Numbers 13 – The sending out of the Twelve Spies (Summarize the story). 1 Corinthians 10:11 (NIV84) — These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

What can we learn about the massive failure of Israel at Kadesh, as recording in Numbers 13-14? How can we use the lessons of Kadesh to help us follow Christ and honor God?

Lessons of Kadesh

FIRST, God has a plan for your life – don’t get distracted.

God’s plan for Israel was a new land—a new place for them to call home. Exodus 3:17 (NIV84) — 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ What is God’s plan for you? Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV84) — 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Problem: Distractions. Numbers 13:25–29 (NIV84) — 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.” Distractions for Israel: Powerful nations to confront; War and struggle; Fear of the unknown. Distractions for the follower of Christ: Job security/finances; Misunderstood by family/friends; Fear of the unknown.

SECOND, God promises to empower you – don’t lose heart.

Numbers 13:30 (NIV84) — 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.” Caleb was a man of faith – and he knew that when God calls a person or a nation, God empowers – He enables. Without faith in God, you will lose heart and make decisions based on fear. Numbers 13:31 (NIV84) — 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” They even exaggerated the truth. For the follower of Jesus Christ, we live by trusting completely in Christ! Philippians 4:13 (NIV84) — 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. It is a principle we live by!

THIRD, God is the authority in your life – don’t follow the faithless.

Numbers 14:1–4 (NIV84) — 1 That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” The people of Israel chose to listen to the ten faithless spies rather than the men of faith—Caleb and Joshua. Because of unbelief, they chose to dismiss the authority of God in their lives. For the genuine Christian, he or she follows Christ—God is the authority, He is Lord. Galatians 2:20 (NIV84) — 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. We need to guard our hearts and minds from the influence of those that are faithless doubters – those who reject God’s authority and promote a way that opposes God’s plan.

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