Summary: The challenge we face in every crisis through which we pass, is whether we will view it through the "eyes of faith" or through the "eyes of the flesh."

The Challenges Of Crises

Text: Num.14: 1-10

Intro: Most of us are familiar with the biblical account of Israel’s wilderness wanderings. It is an account from which much can be learned about God’s loving care for His people, as well as the frailties of human nature.

Among the many spiritual problems of the children of Israel was their tendency toward stubborn self-will and unbelief. As a matter of fact, God referred to Israel’s wilderness wanderings as “the provocation” in Psalm 95: 7-11. The term speaks for itself; but in short, this was a time when the Israelites heard the voice of God, saw the miracles of God, and experienced God’s personal care, yet continually provoked God’s anger through stubbornness and unbelief.

But lest we become haughty in our attitude this morning, let us be reminded of how many times we have faced crises in our lives with a less than sterling demonstration of faith. God’s people haven’t changed much over the centuries. We still find ourselves battling with stubbornness and unbelief from time to time. However, the sad part of our fleshly responses to the crises of life is that we lose the blessings that God had in store for us in those situations.

As we look at Israel’s response to this particular crisis, may we learn from their mistakes. Crises are a challenge from God to exercise confidence in Him.

Theme: The challenges of Israel’s crisis are seen in:


A. They Were To Gather Intelligence Via A Search.

Num.13: 17 “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

18 And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad: and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.”

B. The Intelligence Was To Be Used To Develop Battle Strategy.

1. The search was not to see if they could take the land, for God had already promised victory.

Num.13: 1 “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.”

2. Apparently, God had yielded to an earlier request to search the land to develop a plan of attack.

Deut.1: 22 “And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.”

NOTE: [1] Gathering intelligence in order to develop a plan of attack was the smart thing to do. The fact that God had promised to give them the land did not mean that they were to be totally passive in taking possession of that land. God expects us to use our brain, while at the same time exercising complete reliance on Him.

British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein was once visited in his studio by the eminent author and fellow Briton, George Bernard Shaw. The visitor noticed a huge block of stone standing in one corner and asked what it was for.

“I don’t know yet. I’m still making plans.”

Shaw was astounded. “You mean you plan your work. Why, I change my mind several times a day!”

“That’s all very well with a four-ounce manuscript,” replied the sculptor, “but not with a four-ton block.”

Today in the Word, April 5, 1993.

[2] What was the challenge that faced these twelve spies, as they searched out the land? The challenge was to view everything they saw in the light of what God had promised. They were being challenged to see everything from God’s point of view. God knew the giants were there all along. God knew the cities were walled all along. God knew that the inhabitants were a strong people all along. Still He said, “I’ll give you this land.”

[3] In every crisis through which we pass, we must decide whether to view it through the eyes of faith or the eyes of our flesh.

Faith in God makes great optimists. Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, “Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?” with a sneer on his face.

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