Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 22, 2014

Giants in the Land, by David Bower

 God’s Promise to Israel

In Numbers 13:1 the Lord makes a wonderful promise to Israel when He tells Moses:

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.”

Israel had seen the mighty hand of God deliver them from their oppressive servitude to Egypt, part the Red Sea, drown Pharaoh’s pursuing forces and lead them safely to the borders of their promised land. Now God was telling them to go and check out God’s great gift to them. This should have been a time of triumphant rejoicing as they took their first glimpse at their new home, a land flowing with milk and honey as they reported to Moses:

“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.”

If they would only have stopped there, their lives would have been totally different; sadly they threw in a “but” that would have devastating results on all but two of the spies that went into the land.

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.”……..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.”

That was the report of ten of the 12 spies that were sent; there was a minority report from two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, who insisted, to no avail, that they could take possession of the land:

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.”

Unfortunately for Israel, they believed the majority report and we are told in Numbers 14:1-2:

14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!

Their words would come back to haunt them because in Numbers 14:27-30 the Lord tells Moses and Aaron:

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”

What a tragic failure of faith; instead of going into the promised land, Israel would wander about in the wilderness until all those 20 years of age and older had died in the wilderness; ““If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!” became a reality for all of them.

What Would You Have Done?

As we read that familiar story we may wonder how we would have chosen, would we have joined with Joshua and Caleb or the ten faithless spies? We would certainly hope we would have joined with Joshua and Caleb but would we have actually done that? Can we be certain we would have chosen to walk by faith and not by sight to join with two men when there were so many who doubted?

The fact of the matter is we are presented with that option every day; we can choose to live our lives by faith or by sight; we can choose whether or not to enter into our rest every day that passes. In Hebrews 3:7-19 we are warned to not harden our hearts against the promises of God.

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

The Challenge to You Today

Today there can appear to be giants in the land; these take many forms and can threaten to overwhelm us. These giants may appear at work, at home, or anyplace and threaten our peace and safety. We too have promises from God and invitations to trust Him to watch over us and care for us.

We are given the opportunity to respond by sight or by faith so how will we respond, with the ten or with the two? When you face the future are you all too often weeping and grumbling, 14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled” or do you display the spirit of faith in the promises of God and say, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” The choice is yours, choose to walk by faith and not by sight!

Next time, “God’s Promise to Christians.”

 


Responses

  1. There are giants in the land. For me it is not being able to talk to my grandchildren about Jesus because of their atheist dad and not wanting to jeopardize being with them. The giant of political correctness is a big giant The quietness of our generation of Christian is defining and getting louder all the time. The example of me with my children is an example. Thank you David Bower and may I use a part of this writing in a post on FB.

    Like

    • Sandy,
      How good to hear from you again, thank you for writing! An atheist dad does complicate matters for you, I can understand that. Prayer is a powerful tool and when you are praying for someone you love it is much easier to be a faithful prayer warrior. Both the grandchildren and their atheist dad need prayer and patience on your part. This is a Proverbs 3:5-6 situation so I encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding. Acknowledge the Lord and let Him direct your path.
      David

      Like


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