Numbers 13:1-33


I.    This is the last of a four stage rebellion.

A.  The four stages:

1.      11:1-3 - Unidentified complaining.

2.      11:4-35 - Complaining about the food.

3.      12:1-16 - Complaining about the leadership.

4.   13 and 14 - Complaining about the way.

B.   These four stages in no way end the complaining of Israel.

1.   In chapter 16, we find there is more complaining about the leadership.

2.      Every time Israel complains, they get in trouble.  This is the same way with us.  They didn't learn, and we don't learn.


II.   Verse 1-6 - Moses follows the commands of the Lord.

A.  Since we can see that the results of this trip is a discouragement to the people why would God have them send spies into the land?

1.      Deut. 1:19-23 - As Moses later preaches about this event, we find that the people had asked for someone to go before them that they might be lead by sight!

2.      When the people asked, God granted their request even though it was against His directive will.

3.   God did this same thing when Israel asked for a king.  He gave them one, even though it was against His directive will.  There are many examples of this kind of thing in the Bible.  (Consider Balaam, Lot, Jonah, any person in rebellion against God.)

4.   God will do exactly the same thing to us.  He will give us things even though it is in our best interest not to have it.

5.      This people, like us, had a desire to walk by sight, not by faith.  Isn't this like us?

6.      When we walk by sight instead of by faith, it is th same thing as not taking God at His Word.  Israel wouldn't believe they (through the Lord) could capture the land.

7.   We have the responsibility to believe God regardless of the circumstances.  OUR future is before us!

B.   The men were sent.

1.   A ruler from each tribe to represent that tribe.  This might seem like a republic form of government, but Israel's government should be a dictatorship, with God in total control.

2.      These men, upon seeing the truth of God's promise in Canaan, should excite the people to believe the promises of God.

3.      Their names are listed in verse 4-16 (to their everlasting shame or blessing).  Where is our name listed?

4.      Oshea (meaning "the prayer of salvation") is changed to Joshua, (meaning "the promise of salvation".)


III. The commands the men received from Moses.

A.  They were commanded to enter the land and "see" it.  (Verse 18)

1.      What an example of walking by sight, not by faith.

2.   It is so much better for us if we walk by faith, letting God be our eyes.

B.   They were to see the general layout of the land.

1.   The people - whether there were many or few, weak or strong.

2.   The land - good or bad (they won't believe God, will they?)

3.   The cities - walled or not, strong or in tents.

C.   Be of good courage.

1.      Moses prays they will be strong in the Lord.

2.      When they visit the land, that God will encourage them to know that by His power, they can conquer the people.

D.  The place of their travels.

1.      They traveled as far north as Hamath - on the very northern most boundary of Israel.

2.   On their way back, (I assume) they cut a cluster of grapes at Eshcol (south of Bethlehem).


IV. Their report.

A.  They confirmed that the land was just like God said.

1.      They showed the people the cluster of grapes as proof.

2.      They said it is a land flowing with milk and honey.

B.   The report on the inhabitants of the land.

1.      "Nevertheless" - before the report of the inhabitants even started, they expressed their doubt at God's ability to give them victory.

2.      They told about the walled cities, very great.  They indicate that the cities would be impossible to defeat.

3.      They tell of the Anak that live there.  They are giants, and Israel pictures themselves as grasshoppers in their sight.  (Verse 33)

C.    Verse 31 - The spies went one step farther and proclaimed that Israel was unable to be victorious because of the people of the land.

1.      The spies were not commanded to give a report on whether or not Israel could capture the land.

2.      Their duty was to view out the land and see if it was what God said it would be.

3.      They said more than God commanded them to say, therefore led all Israel astray.

D.  This exact same thing happens to churches today.

1.   We know the Kingdom of God is great and that it holds all we will ever want or need.

2.   We can get very excited over doing something that God wants us to do.

3.   Yet when we have to go out and face people, proclaiming the gospel to them, or talking to them about their sinful ways, we back out just like Israel did, saying that we aren't able, let somebody else do it.

4.   We must learn to put "religion" into proper perspective.  We must learn to live around sinful people like God wants us to.

5.   It's easy to come to church and act like a Christian, but are we willing to act like a Christian in a wicked and sinful world?

6.      When we fail in our Christian testimony because of fear, we are no different from Israel, who failed at this point.

7.      And we can be sure that we will receive the same wandering around for the rest of our lives.

8.   If you feel like your life is being wasted, maybe it is.  Maybe you've failed to do God's will and now He is letting you live out your rebellious life.

E.   Caleb and Joshua are the only two of the twelve spies who believe the promises of God.

1.      Caleb stilled the people before Moses had a chance to say a word.

2.   He is confident of instant success.  "Let us go up at once."

3.      "Let us go and possess the land."  He does not speak of conquering the land, for he knows that God will do the conquering for them.

4.      True believers need fear nothing.

F.   What about us?

1.   Do we really believe the promises of God?

2.   Do we even know what the promises of God are?

3.   We like to think we are like Joshua and Caleb, but do we have faith like they did?

4.   If we have faith like Joshua and Caleb, we will have works like they do.  If we don't have works like they do, we don't have faith like they do.

5.      James 2:14-26 - If a man doesn't have works, he doesn't have faith.

6.         Let us not fool ourselves like Israel did.  It is our life at stake, not somebody else's.