Text: Numbers 13:1 -3 17-33 (King James Version)
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
The Fields are white and the laborers are
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders."
3 So at the Lord's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, "Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and 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 in 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.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] 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 and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol 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 and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.
27 They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land
to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.
28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and
very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the
Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the
Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan."
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
The Israelites had seen some awesome miracles. A couple of months prior to this Moses had revealed God's power as he performed one miracle after another. Turning a staff into a snake, dust into lice, water into blood, day turned to night, the sea parted, Pharoah and his army destroyed -- what an awesome display of God's power and goodness - and that He was with them!
Just prior to the spies being sent out, Miriam was struck with leprosy and then healed; God sent Quail to feed them; fire fell from heaven and destroyed some of the complainers. Beyond that, they could see a pillar of fire in their camp every night and a pillar of clouds every day.
Man! Wouldn't you like to see one or two of those miracles? Wouldn't that boost your faith a little? It didn't seem to help theirs. You see, the issue is the heart. Believing is a choice. Trust is a choice. Seeing is not necessarily believing. That's why Paul said, "we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) Stability is from choosing to put your faith in God. If we believe only if we see something -- we can be easily deceived and led astray. After seeing all these awesome miracles, these people were led astray, led to doubt God's power, led to doubt God's provision for them by a few faithless, doubting, complaining leaders.
One little side lesson here: Do you see how a few negative, complaining, doubting people can destroy us? No wonder Joshua Said in
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Ten faithless people almost completely
destroyed a nation. Ten faithless people hindered millions from entering into
God's blessing. Ten faithless people caused millions to die in the desert
instead of enjoying a land that flowed with milk and honey! That was their
way of saying it was a 'sweet' land; a land of abundance. And they
missed it -- because they choose to believe ten doubting leaders instead of two
Here's another side lesson: A democracy is not always a good thing. That's why our forefathers saw the wisdom in creating a republic. In a republic you choose wise godly men to represent the people. One of our forefathers called a democracy -- a 'mobocracy' -- because it can degenerate into a mob very easily. Such was the case here. The people were ready to stone Caleb and Joshua simply for being positive and faithful and trusting of God.
They had some big problems here. But is it any bigger than your problem? It probably isn't to you. Some are going through physical problems; some relationship problems; some financial problems; some are struggling with addictions; some are struggling with their faith. There are some pretty heavy problems out there. Just how BIG is YOUR problem? Does it threaten to overwhelm you? Does it threaten to destroy you -- your faith; your marriage; your life?
Is it any worse than Paul and Silas in prison?
Its it any worse than Paul being shipwrecked and on a barbarous island.
Is it any worse than the Widow preparing her last meal?
Is it any worse than Jarius over his daughter or Mary and Martha over their Brother Lazarus?
Is it any worse than being one of the ten lepers crying unclean?.
Is it any worse than being in a den of Wild Lions as Daniel?
Is it any worse than facing off a furnace seven time hotter?
Is it any worse than the woman with an issue of Blood for twelve years and growing worse?
Is it any worse than running out of wine at a wedding? Well Maybe here.
Is it any worse than being exiled to an Island after facing a boiling pot of oil?
Is it any
worse than being beheaded over taking a stand for truth like John the
Is it any worse than being stoned to death for the sake of the Gospel and crying out Father don't lay this to their charge?
Let me ask you this: "How big is your God?" Is your God
big enough to handle your problems? Most of the Israelites God
wasn't. Even though they saw Him do awesome things; even though they saw Him
come to their rescue over and over again -- they choose not to believe in a big God.
And it literally killed them. It robbed them of such wonderful
Is that happening to you? Is your lack of belief and faith preventing God from blessing you like He wants to? Is your doubt and negatively robbing you of spiritual abundance? Listen to the ten doubters,
"They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan."
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
Do you ever feel like a grasshopper among giants? Do you ever feel you are about to be overwhelmed by your problems? I do. I look at the challenges of pastoring a small church and feel like it's impossible. We will never raise the money we need! We will never get the leaders we need to succeed! We won't be able to make our budgets!
But God reminds me of what He has done in the past. He says, "Have I ever failed you?" After 23 years of ministry I have to admit -- He never has! He says, "Have I delivered you out of bigger problems than this in the past?" I have to admit He has. "Do you think I can deliver you now?" He asks.
And I am confronted with a choice -- believe or not; Faith or failure; Trust or doubt. Joshua responded to the ten doubters like this:
"The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."
When you come into your land of giants; when your mountain seems too big to climb; and the problems too great to overcome -- let me suggest you do three things.
First, choose to believe. Sometimes we have to be like the father of the boy possessed by a demon.
21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23 "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes."
24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:21-24
Sometimes we have so little faith. Our belief in our great God is so small. Sometimes we have to pray for help to believe. We have to pray for help to overcome our unbelief. And God can help us to do that. Everything is possible for us if we will just believe.
A College student was asked once to prepare a lesson to teach his speech class. He was to be graded on creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of his talk was, "The Law of the Pendulum." He spent twenty minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.
The student attached a three-foot string to a child's toy top and secured it to the top the blackboard with a thumbtack. He pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where he let it go. Each time it swung back he made a new mark.
It took less than a minute for the top to complete its
swinging and come to rest. When he finished the demonstration, the markings on
the blackboard proved the law of the pendulum.
The student then asked how many people in the room believed the law of the pendulum was true. All of his classmates raised their hands and so did the teacher. The teacher started to walk to the front of the room thinking the class was over. In reality it had only begun. Hanging from the steal beams in the middle of the room was a large, crude but functional pendulum made from 250 pounds of metal weights tied to four strands of 500 pound test parachute cord. The student invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with back of his head against a cement wall. Then the student brought the 250 pounds of metal up to the teachers' nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from the teacher's face, the student once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before, "If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger."
After that final restatement of this law, the student looked his teacher in the eye and asked, "Sir, do you believe this law is true?" There was a long pause. Huge beads of sweat formed on his upper lip and then weakly he nodded and whispered, "Yes."
The student released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. The student later testified that he had never seen a man move so fast in his entire life as the teacher literally dove from the table
It was easy
for this teacher to believe in the law of the pendulum when it was all
theoretical. But when his life
literally depended on the law of the pendulum he showed that his belief was only
It's easy for us to believe in God's ability to handle our problems in church on Sunday morning or in a Bible study. But in the real world where our lives are on the line too many of us demonstrate that our belief was only theoretical.
Do I need to mention some areas that reveal our unbelief? I think I will just allow the Holy Spirit to point our in your life where you need more belief. Pray for it. Seek it. Exercise it.
When you come into your land of giants; when your mountain seems too big to climb; and the problems too great to overcome, secondly, trust. In the example I just shared -- you can see that there was no way the teacher was going to trust his nose to that pendulum because he didn't really believe. It is only after you choose to believe that you can trust. But trust always involves risk.
Therefore trust is always a choice. The greater the belief -- the greater the trust.
of trust is the old legend of William Tell shooting the apple off his son's
head. One variation of the legend says that the king placed his hat on a pole in
the town square and all were to bow to it. Tell wouldn't do it. He was arrested
and given a choice. Since he had a reputation for being an expert shot with bow
and arrow, he could shoot an apple off his son's head or both of them would be
You know the story, what you may not know is that William Tell took out two arrows, according to legend. When asked what the second arrow was for - he replied it was for the king, in case he killed his son. I think the boy had greater trust in his father than the father had in himself.
Do you REALLY trust God? If so - prove it with your actions. Walk the talk.
That brings us to the third thing we are to do when you come into your land of giants; when your mountain seems too big to climb; and the problems too great to overcome. You act. If you don't act -- you don't really believe and you certainly don't trust.
Abraham was an old man when Isaac was born. What a blessing that son was! What a living example of God's goodness. But now God comes to Abraham and asks him to take his beloved son up on the sacred mountain and sacrifice him as proof of his love and trust.
Can you imagine the struggle; the doubts; the questions? But Abraham worked through them. He believed God. He trusted God. Did it make sense intellectually? No. Did it make sense spiritually? No. But Abraham KNEW this was what God was asking him to do. So he believed God; he trusted God; and he acted. He loaded his son up with firewood, stuck his knife in his belt, and headed up the mountain with every intention of killing his son.
But he trusted God. He knew God was good. So this was his intellectual rationalization.
"Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death." Hebrews 11:19
If you don't act -- you don't believe. Belief always affects our actions. If you don't obey you don't really love. Obedience is the proof of our love.
Many of us are facing tremendous problems in our lives. You are encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Do you think it's by accident? I don't think so.
I think God has allowed these things to give you an
opportunity to grow in faith. The Bible says,
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6
It is a blessing from God that we face these giants. It gives us a chance to grow in grace. Face your giant. Believe in God's deliverance. Trust your fate to Him -then act in the appropriate way. NOTHING will be impossible to you -- if you believe. Let's pray.
I have to admit that I am a little afraid. I have doubted You. I haven't really trusted you. Please forgive me. Right now I give you my fear. I give you my doubt. Give me the courage to do the right thing. Give me the strength to over come