We Don’t Believe You
Numbers 13:1-2, 17a, 25-28a; 14:1-2,5-10a
Adult Sunday School Class
September 22, 2019
Theme: Do we sometimes fear the circumstances in which we find ourselves, rather than exhibit our faith in God to deliver us from our circumstances? During these instances, much time is wasted when God is not attending to your prayer which you have yet to pray because you are preoccupied analyzing your problem rather than asking Him for His intercession.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses
* Numbers 13:1,2, 17a “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, everyone a ruler among them. 17a “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan.”
God had commissioned Moses to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt and claim the Promised Land given to Abraham in a covenant by God. God instructed Moses to send out scouts as a strategic move to plan their attack of conquering Canaan. One spy from each of the twelve tribes would go out and bring back a report.
* v.25-28, “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.”
When the scouts returned after 40 days to give their report, they began with glowing observations of a land that was lush with fruits and fawn, a virtually cornucopia (horn of plenty) of vegetation and wildlife. Then the ten scouts who reported this information gave what they considered the bad news. They said that the cities were well fortified with surrounding high walls, and the people appeared to be giants. Of the twelve that returned, two, Caleb from the tribe of Judah and Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim, had an opposing view from the other ten. MORAL: Tactically, it’s a good idea to check out the enemy which you are about to attack. This exercise may have been a way of God testing their faith. The ten focused on their potential problems in conquering Canaan, rather than concentrating on the power of God to convey the land that He had promised Abraham’s people. Later the people subsequently defeated the Canaanites in which the battles were not won by the Israelites, but by the power of God over their enemies. If the people had been people of faith, they would have known that what God had promised would be delivered. THE PROBLEM HERE, AND WITH US TOO, WAS THAT PEOPLE FOCUSED MORE ON THEIR OWN STRENGTH OR FAILINGS, RATHER THAN ON THE POWER OF GOD TO DELIVER THEM FROM ANY TRIBULATION.
* Numbers 14:1-2, “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 the wilderness!”
The “bad news” hit the Israelites like a ton of bricks. They felt betrayed by God and Moses and that they would be left in the wilderness to die. There was a lack of faith among the people, as well as short memories. Wasn’t its Moses, with God’s help parted the Red Sea, after their liberation from slavery. People in fear and depression focus on the negative side of events and circumstances rather than turn their hearts and minds to God, as a source of hope and deliverance. Looking back on the “good old days”, keeps us from looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us. You cannot see what’s in front of you by looking back.
*v.5-10, “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. 10. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.”
The Israelites did not like the final report from the scouts. Anger does not begin to describe their mood, nor their ingratitude toward God and Moses; and also toward Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua. The crowd forgot all of the things that God had done for them through Moses. Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground as an act of submission to God; while Caleb and Joshua tore off their clothes, which was a gesture of mourning the lament of his people. Moses reminded them that the land which God had promised was a good land, and the inhabitants should not be feared because they will devour them. God will give them the victory, but they have to go in and claim it for themselves. This is the example of people worrying about the obstacles before them and why they can’t win, rather than having faith in the Almighty God who had demonstrated His Power over all things.