Summary: The story of Joshua and Caleb gives us the keys to being strong and courageous as we face impossible situations and giants in our own lives today.
THE STORY #6: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: (WANDERING – NUMBERS & DEUTERONOMY)
INTRO TO TOPIC: In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
• That’s true of today! What does it take for us to become strong and courageous?
• John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”
• Today we’re going to look at the story of 12 great leaders who were chosen for a mission.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
We have been looking at Exodus where Moses delivered God’s people from bondage in Egypt.
God brought them to Mount Sinai where He gave them new commands and new covenant.
In Numbers, God gets ready to take them into the Promised Land:
• “And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.” (Num. 10:12).
• All through chapters 11-12, the people continually complain. God had delivered them from slavery, provided manna and water for them, but they kept grumbling.
1. THE TWELVE SPIES:
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” (Num. 13:1-2).
• Two of these men were Joshua and Caleb. They went on a 40 day recon mission.
• God’s promise: “I am giving you this land!” Did they believe the promise?
2. THE BAD REPORT:
“26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.” (Num. 13:26-28).
• The first thing the spies did was gave a report of the land – wonderful as God had said.
• But then they added a “nevertheless.” Have you ever done that in your life? God calls you to do something, or you have a dream in your heart, but you add a ‘nevertheless’?
• All twelve men had been slaves in Egypt, and ten of them had a defeatist mentality.
• Whiney voice: “The people are strong, the cities are fortified, wah wah wah!”
3. TWO DIFFERENT REPORTS:
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Num. 13:30).
• Caleb knew the power of words to influence people, so he told the people: “Shut up!”
• Joshua and Caleb came back with a good report: “We are well able to overcome!”
“But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Num. 13:31-33).
• The others said, “We are NOT able, for they are stronger than we.” It seemed impossible.
4. THE POWER OF FAITH AND FEAR:
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7).
• What we believe about ourselves significantly affects what we become!
• The ten spies said, “We saw the giants, and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
• They saw themselves as small and insignificant; their enemies saw them the same way.
• Look at how their negative report affected the whole congregation:
• “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.” (Num. 14:1).
• They had a little pity-party and said, “Let’s go back to Egypt!”
• In the natural, it seemed impossible. But with God, all things are possible!
“6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” (Num. 14:6-9).