Numbers 13:1



The Bible says in Numbers 13:1-20, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[2] Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.[3] And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.[4] And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.[5] Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.[6] Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.[7] Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.[8] Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.[9] Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.[10] Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.[11] Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.[12] Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.[13] Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.[14] Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.[15] Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.[16] These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.[17] And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:[18] And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;[19] And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;[20] And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.” God told Moses to send one man from every tribe as scouts to go into the Promised Land and find out what was going on there. That is just practical common sense. They knew that God had promised them the land of Canaan. But knowing God’s promises never means that you do not need to do what you should from a human perspective. God promises to take care of your needs, but you still have a responsibility to improve yourself and get the best job that you can and go to work every day. The Israelites were going to a land where none of them had ever lived. They needed to be as prepared as they could be. The job of these scouts was to gather information about the land of Canaan and the people who lived there and come back and inform the rest of the children of Israel.  


The Bible says in Numbers 13:21-33, “So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.[22] And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)[23] And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.[24] The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.[25] And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.[26] And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.[27] And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.[28] Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.[29] The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.[30] And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.[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.[32] 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.[33] 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.” The twelve men went into the land of Canaan and spied out the land as they were told to do, and they came back with their report. There was a conflict in what was reported, and that difference tells us a great lesson about human nature and about the difference between faith and sight. If you live by the sight of your eyes only, you will be an easy victim to many fears. But if you remember what Jesus said, you will be brave and strong and confident. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you


Caleb viewed the enemies with the eye of faith, and so Caleb said in verse thirty, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” The others viewed the enemies with the eyes of human beings without faith, and so they said in verse thirty-one, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” And the others said in verse thirty-three, “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” What a difference faith makes. Faith makes you brave and strong. Faith makes you see what is true. Faith keeps you from foolish ideas. Faith makes you see what you can do by the grace of God instead of what you cannot do. The life of faith is the best life of all, and that life starts by putting your faith in the Lord Jesus to be your Savior.


The Bible says in Numbers 14:1-4, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.[2] And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness![3] And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?[4] And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” The multitudes believed the ones who had no faith. The multitudes liked the bad news and reacted to it, and they rejected the good news and the positive interpretation. Some things never change, and it shows the weakness of democracy. The weakness of democracy is that it only works well if people are wise and good and make the right decisions on what they choose. That means that the best way to help democracy is to help people become better people. More true Christianity, more Bible, and more prayer is what will help a democracy. The children of Israel were so upset after believing he negative report of the future that they cried, they rebelled against God’s chosen leaders, and they said they wished they were dead. All of that because they believed the negative report instead of the positive report. All of that because they chose doubt instead of faith. Because they did not believe in the good things that the future could hold for them, they wanted to choose the wrong leader and they wanted to go to the wrong country. Because they did not believe, they were going to stop serving God. Faith is important. God wants to accomplish things in your life, and He will, but you must believe. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”


The Bible says in Numbers 14:5-9, “Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.[6] And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:[7] And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.[8] If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.[9] Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” Verse six shows for the first time that Joshua agreed with Caleb, and with the report based upon faith. Evidently Joshua changed for the better. Initially, only Caleb had the good report. And so Joshua must have thought about what Caleb said and then Joshua realized that Caleb was right. Joshua repented: he changed his mind. One you stand up for what is true and good and right, most people may not listen and make the right decision to change their mind and turn to Jesus. But it seems that there are always one or two along the way whose heart is touched by the Spirit because you said what is true and good.


We see that Joshua and Caleb had a positive mindset. They said in verse seven, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.” They were positive because they trusted in the Lord, and they knew that the Lord could do anything. They said in verse eight, “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us.” Caleb and Joshua had spiritual insight. They said to the children of Israel in verse nine, “Only rebel not ye against the LORD.” If they did not go into the land, they would be rebelling against God’s will. Once you know the Lord’s will for any area of your life, make sure you do it. To do otherwise is rebellion against God, and it will not turn out well. The problem of the children of Israel was primarily a spiritual problem: they were in rebellion against the will of the Lord. Human beings do not know better than God, but the pride and self-will of man is easily fooled. Caleb and Joshua knew that the children of Israel were afraid. Caleb and Joshua said in verse nine, “neither fear ye the people of the land.” Perfect love casts out fear. Have love for God and your fear will disappear, because you will know that God is on your side, and God’s love will make everything turn out just the way it should. Caleb and Joshua had insight and understanding of what they saw. They said at the end of verse nine, “for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” They saw the weaknesses of the unbelieving heathen people of Canaan, and they knew that those weaknesses along with God’s help would give them the victory. Therefore, there was nothing to fear. 


The Bible says in Numbers 14:10-19, “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.[11] And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?[12] I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.[13] And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)[14] And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.[15] Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,[16] Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.[17] And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,[18] The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.[19] Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” The first impulse of the children of Israel against Calen and Joshua was to kill them. And so of course, God had to do something about this. In the conversation between God and Moses we see a good example of the judgment of God in the face of someone who intercedes and pleads the cause of the guilty ones. The holiness and righteousness of God expressed that the people should be punished. But Moses played the role of the intercessor who pleads for mercy and reminds the Judge why the punishments should not fall on the people. Jesus is our intercessor. It says in First John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous


The first part of verse eighteen tells us what you will experience if you trust in the Lord Jesus to be your Savior. It says, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” Longsuffering means that God will wait a long time before brining judgment on you, giving you a chance to repent. Mercy means that you will not get what you deserve. Forgiveness means that God removes your sins from you so that when He sees you, He sees no sin at all. But what happens to those who do not trust Jesus as Savior? The last part of verse eighteen says, “by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” Once you are forgiven through faith in Christ, you are no longer guilty. But if your guilt remains with you because you do not trust in Christ, then you will bear the consequences both in this life and in the next. The things that we do affect and influence those around us. There is no one closer than our own family members. One of the factors in the destiny of children is their parent’s life and actions, especially in the Old Testament times. If you want to have good consequences later in life, then do the right thing and serve the Lord now.


Moses told God in verse thirteen that if the people were destroyed by the Lord now that “the Egyptians shall hear it.” And the Egyptians would use that fact as a reason to mock God and to speak against God. Of course, the Lord is very jealous of His name and His reputation. That is one of the reasons that the Lord has extra blessings and extra help for those who honor His name and for those who confess the name of Jesus before men. It also one of the reasons that God chastises His children: so that we will learn to be a good testimony to the world and not a bad testimony.



Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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