Conflicting Reports

Background Story: God delivered the Israelites from Egypt after they had prayed to God for 430 years. Now the Israelites are standing outside the promised land deciding what to do next.

Read Numbers 13:1-3, 26-30

The Lord said to Moses, “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.” So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. 

17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 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. 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.”

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.”

Big Idea: Lift your eyes from your problems to your deliverer.

God delivered the Israelites from Egypt using amazing signs and wonders. To review: the water turned to blood, lots of frogs, lice and flies, boils and sores, huge hail, locusts, darkness covered the land, and the firstborn Egyptian children died. That’s before they even got out of Egypt. Then there was the literal parting of the Red Sea, the wall of fire, drinking water from a rock, eating bread that fell from heaven, and the list just keeps going. All of these miracles and wonders happened so that the Israelites could leave Egypt and enter the land that God promised.

Delivered from Egypt, they get to border of the promise land and the leaders decide to check it out before they send in the people. The leaders come back to the people with conflicting reports. Caleb and Joshua say they should take the land but the rest of the leaders say no. The enemy is just too big. So who are the Israelites going to believe?

“That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 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! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-4)

Go back to Egypt???? Are they so afraid of some tall people and big walls that they would rather go back to slavery? Before we judge them too harshly, aren’t we this way too sometimes? We stand looking up at our difficult circumstances and start shaking in our boots with fear. The problem is too big and the circumstance seems hopeless. We have been delivered from the slavery of sin through Christ and have seen the amazing miracle of salvation in our own life. But it can be easy to forget God’s faithfulness that delivered us in the past and become overwhelmed by the problem staring at us now. We can even feel the pull of past sin or addiction asking us to come back into slavery again.

When life’s giants bring fear, it’s time to stop staring at our circumstances and our own weaknesses and repeat Joshua’s words, “the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9) It is the Lord who delivered us before and it’s the Lord that can do it again! We become overwhelmed when we take back control of our life and believe we are responsible to deliver ourselves from our problems. Open up your hands to God in prayer and give Him your circumstances and fears. Ask Him for the faith to walk into God’s promises with confidence because He is with you.

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