September 4, 2017
Scripture Reading – Numbers 13-16
Continuing in our study of the Book of Numbers, we find Israel encamped at the threshold of the land God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be the inheritance of their seed. The events in today’s scripture reading, Numbers 13-16, are among the most dynamic in Israel’s 40 years of wanderings in the wilderness; unfortunately, this devotional commentary must be brief and highlight only a few observations of the many that could be made.
The LORD directed Moses to send men, one from each tribe, to “see the land…the people…what the land is…what the cities they be” (13:1-19). Moses challenged the men, “be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land” (13:20). The spies were gone for 40 days and returned with “a branch with one cluster of grapes” that was so full of fruit the men “bare it between two upon a staff” (13:23-25).
The spies confirmed the land was all the LORD had promised saying, “surely it floweth with milk and honey” (13:27); however, they also reported the people of the land were strong, lived in walled cities and “the children of Anak”, along with the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites and Canaanites dwelled there (13:29).
Hearing the challenges the nation must face to claim the land God had promised, unsettled the people and Caleb, one of the spies spoke up and said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (13:30). However, ten of the spies sowed doubt among the people saying, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we…we saw giants…and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (13:31-33).
Caleb urged the people “go up…we are well able” (13:30); however, ten of the spies urged, “we be not able to go up” (13:31).
What made the difference in those observations? What set Joshua and Caleb apart from the other spies? After all, the twelve spies had seen the same things, but came to conclusions that were vastly opposite. The report Caleb and Joshua gave was different from the others in two ways: Focus and Faith.
- Focus: Caleb and Joshua focused, not on the size of the obstacles, but on the size of their God.
- Faith: Caleb and Joshua’s faith was not in their abilities, but in the person and promises of God.
Are you facing giants? Has fear, faithlessness and complacency crept into your heart and thoughts?
You see, Israel’s enemy was not giants or the nations living in the land. Israel’s enemy was her lack of faith in God. The LORD admonished the prophet Jeremiah, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5).
The man God blesses places his faith in the LORD Who has the solution to every problem and the resources to achieve every goal in His will!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 – “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith