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Summary: How many times do we use the word "but" in our everyday conversations? The children of Israel found many excuses not to trust God.

The Search For But-Pickers

Numbers 13 & 14

Numbers 13:17-33

Have you ever met those people that no matter what the proposition or statement, the first word out of their mouth is “but”? I believe that we have a but-load of those people sitting in our churches today. Those without vision; those afraid to take a step of faith.

In our everyday life, we all make decisions based on a vast range of criteria. And if we don’t come at our situations, possibilities and problems with the right perspective, it would be easy to miss out on a hidden blessing or promise.

Its easy for us to pick on the children of Israel, since we have read the end of the story but if we look at the story found in Num. 13 & 14 we may find some characteristics that can be applied to the church today.

Israel was God’s chosen people. We are God’s chosen people (1 Pet. 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…”)

God delivered them from captivity in Egypt. God has delivered us from bondage and slavery of sin.

God had promised them a land of “milk & honey.

God had provided for their every need on the journey to this “promised land. (2 Cor. 12:9 sufficient grace)

The children of Israel had seen God’s power, protection and provision first hand.

I. THE PROSPECTING: 12 SPIES

17) When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through Negev & on into the hill country. 18) See what the land is like & whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19) What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20) How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes)

II. THE PROOF : BIG HONKING GRAPES

21) “So they went up & explored…23) When they reached the Valley of Eshcol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates & figs. 24) That place was called the Valley of Eschol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25) At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.”

26) “They came back to Moses & Aaron & the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them & to the whole assembly & showed them the fruit of the land. 27) They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land which you sent us, & it does flow with milk & honey! Here is the fruit.”

BUT…!

28) “But the people who live there are powerful, & the cities are fortified & very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29) The Amalelkites live in Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites & Amorites live in the hill country; & the Canaanites live near the sea & along the Jordan.”

III. THE PROBLEMS

POWERFUL PEOPLE

FORTIFIED & LARGE CITY

DESCENDANTS OF ANAK

THE AMALEKITES

THE HITTITES

THE JEBUSITES

THE ANIMALRITES

THE AMORITES

THE ELECTROLITES

THE CANAANITES

A) PERSPECTIVE #1 Caleb says “Let’s do this!”

30) “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses & said. “We should go up & take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

WHAT DID CALEB KNOW?

Ex. 3:7) The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of the My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of the their slave drivers, & I am concerned about their suffering. 8) So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians & to bring them up out of that land into a good & spacious land, a land flowing with milk & honey-the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites & Jebusites.

HE KNEW JEHOVAH:I AM

HE KNEW THE PROMISES OF GOD

HE KNEW THE POWER OF GOD

HE KNEW THE PROVISION OF GOD

HE KNEW THE PROTECTION OF GOD

Exodus 3:14

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.’”

I AM=JEHOVAH/ADHONAI

Jehovah: “to be” “I was in the past, I am presently, & I will in the future.”

Jehovah-Jireh: “Lord will provide”

(“I have provided in the past; I am providing now & I will provide in the future.”)

Too bad we have placed our God of today into our own personal “Ark of the Covenant”. We have placed limitations on our unsearchable God. Leaning on our own understanding.

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