Spy out the land I am giving you. See the promise.
Numbers 13:1-33 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 2 “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” 3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.4 These then were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; 6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; 9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Joseph, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land; but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.
17 When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. 19 How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications?20 How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.
21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, at Lebo-hamath. 22 When they had gone up into the Negev, they came to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
23 Then they came to the valley of Eshcol and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men, with some of the pomegranates and the figs. 24 That place was called the valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the sons of Israel cut down from there.
25 When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, 26 they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” 32 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. 33 There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
In today’s text we see the importance of being faithful to God’s word and His instruction. In Deuteronomy 4:1-2 God says: “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Yet, look at what God says in today’s text: “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” The text continues: So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel. These then were their names… When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country. See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications? How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.” Do you see the difference between what God commanded and what Moses said? God simply said to spy out the land He was going to give them. God was not concerned about the inhabitants, how few or many there were. He was not concerned about whether they were weak or strong. God was not concerned about the fortifications. God had already determined He was giving the land to the Israelites. Additionally, in Exodus 3:17-18, God had already established what the land would be like. He said: “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ God didn’t require thespies to inform Him. He wanted the spies to see the goodness of the land in order to encourage the Israelites. God wanted to give them a vision of the promise. It was Moses adding to God’s commandment, adding questions, fears and doubts in the minds and hearts of the spies which laid the groundwork for the bad report.
That’s why we need to know and hear the word of God, not only what others tell us. We need to know what God has said and what He is saying. When we are faced with situations and circumstances it is important that we know what God says, not what man says. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says: I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. We need to be like Caleb, who knowing and trusting in what God said, responded in faith saying: “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” There will be difficulties and challenges in our live, but in John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” God wants us to see and know the promise, not the problems. He already has a plan for the problems. On the cross Jesus said: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) He has already overcome ever problem we face. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says: We walk by faith, not by sight. But it is not faith in ourselves or what we can do. It is faith in God, in what He says, what He has done and what He plans to do. Romans 10:17 says: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. To walk in faith we need to hear and know God’s word, not what others have added or taken away from it. We can do that because we have been given the Holy Spirit, who Jesus said would guide us and teach us and bring to our remembrance all that He said. The Holy Spirit also knows the mind of God, so by the Spirit we can also know not only what God has said but also what He is saying.
Thank You Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for the good plans You have for me, for the solution to every problem, the answer to every question and the path to every promise. I choose to hear and know Your word for every circumstance and situation I face. Amen.