Men of the Bible Series
Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13:23-33)
Numbers 13:32-33, “And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
Can you identify the following names of these men? Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, Geuel. Who are they? What did they do? They can be found in (Numbers 13:1-16). These were ten of the twelve spies that Moses sent to spy on the land of Canaan. These spies were well-known and respected in their day, but their names have faded into obscurity because they renounced their responsibility to carry out God’s plan for His people. God had already promised them victory. “For the person of faith, obstacles are temporary because God is real. For the disbeliever, obstacles are permanent because God is not real enough.”
In Numbers 13-14, The Israelites had witnessed numerous miracles as God freed them from slavery in Egypt. Now they were about to take possession of the land God had promised them. Twelve spies were sent to survey the territory, men who were more than courageous adventurers or soldiers. These men were the leaders from the twelve tribes of Israel, chosen because of their position, respect, and influence among the people. In other words, the people trusted them. After exploring the land for 40 days, 10 of the 12 spies gave a fearful and negative report. The spies had viewed the area they were sent to explore and the results where they distorted what they had discovered. What caused the ten spies to go directly against God’s will for His people and Moses’ leadership? How could they gather the nerve to disobey God?
Their complaint is found in Numbers 13:31, “But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” By instilling fear into the people, the spies filled the congregation with discouragement by spreading the bad report among all the Israelites. The 10 spies viewed the land through the lens of man while Joshua and Caleb viewed them through the lens of faith. The 10 spies walked by sight, while Joshua and Caleb walked by faith. The 10 spies saw obstacles, while Joshua and Caleb saw opportunities. The 10 spies saw foes while Joshua and Caleb saw the fruit. The 10 spies saw problems while Joshua and Caleb saw promises. The 10 spies saw the giants while Joshua and Caleb saw God. A pessimist sees difficulties in every opportunity, while an optimist sees opportunities in every difficulty. Joshua and Caleb were not about to leave God out of the equation. Notice: Vision always attracts criticism. The best evidence that you are in God’s will is the devil’s growl. It has been said, “Faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted”. So, whenever God has a big job He wants done, it is always faith that gets the contract.
Why do we have trouble remembering the names of the ten spies? It is because they refused to trust in the Lord’s promise. In the Bible, Canaan, the Promised Land represented the victorious Christian life. This very day, many Christians are living and working while they’re wasting and losing their lives. So many believers are living defeated lives because they have not surrendered their lives to the will of God. God never meant for His children to live in the valley of depression but on the mountain top of victory. The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
PRAYER: Father, help me to always walk by faith and not by sight. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.