Numbers 13: 17 – 33
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 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.)
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 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 and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol 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 theme of the message was strategies for taking possession of the blessings we have been given through Christ. Four main strategies were outlined:
We may imagine our personal “promised land” to be an easy place, without enemies or struggle, where everything comes naturally and without effort. However, even in the promised land there are often points of struggle and enemies still attack.
In this passage the Israelites had similar expectations and were disappointed and angry when they found that they had a fight on their hands. We too should not expect to be handed our promised land without any effort on our part.
God requires our participation, but works alongside us, guiding us and giving us the abilities we need as we step forward with him. God works with us, as a father with a child, as we try to emulate him, growing in our relationship with him and developing stronger ties of intimacy and growth.
We need to know what God has given us in order to fight for it. We don’t tend to fight for things we don’t believe are ours. This is why the spies were sent into the promised land, to know, taste and see what was theirs for the taking, to make it theirs so they could fight for it.
We have been given so many blessings and yet have no idea of many of them. In 1 Corinthians 1 : 5 we are told “5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—“. It is amazing that we are enriched “in every way” in Him already.
We have also been given the Holy Spirit and all of its fruits. These are two areas of blessing which God has given us and we need to know in our lives.
The spies went into the promised land not only to see their inheritance but to scout out the strongholds and to know their enemy. We also need to know our enemy.
The Bible tells us specifically that he is a liar. If we believe a lie, this will affect our feelings and our behavior, often through fear. We need to make sure that we see the complete picture of the enemy - he is not only a liar, he is also already defeated.
Numbers 14: 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.”
Here the enemies are described as “our bread”! Our enemies, our battles actually provide us with life giving sustenance as we fight alongside our Father. They work for our good, putting us in the most intimate relationship with the Father, strengthening and maturing us in Him.
Speaker: Sally Farah