Belief or Unbelief : Numbers 13

Today I am looking at Numbers 13 and 14. The children of Israel provide a great model for my life. In these verses, they present a model that we should not follow.

In Numbers 13 the children of Israel have moved out of Egypt to Kadesh. The Lord tells Moses to send a band of spies into the land He had promised them. Moses selects men from the tribes and sends them into several areas of the promised land.

The men go into these lands and return after 40 days. They give their report to the children of Israel and Moses then. They relay that it is a bountiful land “flowing with milk and honey.” They even bring back some of its fruit to show how great it is. They list the people groups who live in the land.

Caleb, one of the spies, speaks up and says that he thinks they should charge ahead, take and occupy the land. BUT, 10 of the spies do not believe they will be able to take the land so easily because the men of the land are tall (we are small like grasshoppers) and the cities are fortified.

The children of Israel on hearing this bad report begin to weep and grumble. “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt!” They want to abandon Moses’ leadership and choose another leader to take them back to Egypt.

Moses and Aaron along with Joshua and Caleb (spies) try to convince the children that The Lord is on their side and that if they believe Him they will not fear and they may take the land.

Moses and Aaron make a key point about the peoples in those lands: “their protection is remove.”

They go farther: “If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”

The children of Israel have to believe two things. They must trust their God who delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians and carried them thus far through the wilderness and that He is with them and will allow them to take these lands though the people are tall and the cities are fortified.

The children of Israel do not believe their God and that is real trouble for them. The scene gets really graphic here. The congregation say to stone Moses and Aaron. But God comes into this meeting and His glory is shown to all the people of Israel. They still don’t believe God!!

Moses goes out and petitions God on behalf of the unbelieving children of Israel. God hears Moses petitions but does not answer as Moses petitioned. God sees the hearts of a grumbling people. Though He has shown His glory to them–they still do not believe Him. The people are destined to wander in the wilderness and not see the land God promised them. They do not believe Him!

My take away from this scene is that I want to be like Caleb. God says he has a different spirit and followed his God faithfully.

Be like Caleb!


2 thoughts on “Belief or Unbelief : Numbers 13

  1. “There is nothing new under the sun.” After another 3,500 years of God’s activity people still rely on politics and terrorism of all kinds to “get their way”. They fear each other instead of the evil they are doing! And the kingdom of God has less pull, and God’s glory has less validity than human analysis. Inspiring insights.


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