Numbers 13

Numbers 13 is the story of Moses who obeys God’s direction to “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel”.  God has promised the people their land.  He called led them out of captivity in Egypt to go there, and now Moses has “men who were heads of the people of Israel” head out and spy on this place they were heading.  All of a sudden they are now going to get their first look at the home they were called to.  Moses picks these guys to take on the task:

Tribe                            Leader

Reuben                         Shammua the son of Zaccur

Simeon                         Shaphat the son of Hori

Judah                           Caleb the son of Jephunneh

Issachar                        Igal the son of Joseph

Ephraim                        Hoshea the son of Nun

Benjamin                       Palti the son of Raphu

Zebulun                        Gaddiel the son of Sodi

Joseph (Manasseh)       Gaddi the son of Susi

Dan                              Ammiel the son of Gemalli

Asher                            Sethur the son of Michael

Naphtali                        Nahbi the son of Vophsi

Gad                                 Geuel the son of Machi

Twelve men send on a mission.  Here is what Moses asks them to do: “sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is”.  Specifically…..

–      “whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak

–      whether they are few or many

–      whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad

–      whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds

–      whether the land is rich or poor

–      whether there are trees in it or not

Some pretty specific requests.  Moses wants to know what they are facing.  The men head off and exam the land.  They cut down a single cluster of grapes and have to carry it on a pole between two of them so it was pretty good fruit.  They spend 40 days out there spying, and then return with their findings which they gave to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation.

It was show and tell time.  The dozen spies gave this report on the land they had just checked out, and showed off the fruit they had brought back.

–      “flows with milk and honey

–      this is its fruit

–      people who dwell in the land are strong

–      cities are fortified and very large

–      descendants of Anak

–      Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb

–      Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country

–      Canaanites dwell by the sea

The report is going down the path of ‘we can’t really do much as the people there are strong and protected’.

But then “Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it”.  One man steps up and believes.  The other 11 say no – that it cannot be done.  But Caleb saw the potential and knew God’s power.  He was ready to go and take the land even though “we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them”.  What is the difference between Caleb and the rest?  Perspective, and faith.  He knew God was leading.  He knew God was able.  He knew God had already given them the land.  He was ready to be obedient and go take it.  So he looked at things through God’s eyes – that is called vision.  The rest were only looking through their own.  What a difference perspective makes in how we respond to the same set of circumstances and experiences.  Through what eyes do you look? Your limited vision, or God’s unlimited perspective?  He is able, which means we are able, to do great and mighty things when He leads!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Brad Kowerchuk on October 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    In Numbers 13:16, Moses is said to have changed the man called Hoshea to Joshua… in the original language, Hoshea means “Salvation”, and by adding the “J” the meaning becomes “Jehovah is Salvation”… how did Joshua, starting with his actions as a spy, show that he was worthy of this new name? How can we be bold witnesses of Jehovah today, in imitation of Joshua?

    Reply

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