Who is ready for a quick Bible study with me? 🙂
So today I am reading through Numbers 13. Here it is if you want to read through yourself:
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” 3 Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel. 4 These were their names: Shammua son of Zaccur from the tribe of Reuben; 5 Shaphat son of Hori from the tribe of Simeon; 6 Caleb son of Jephunneh from the tribe of Judah; 7 Igal son of Joseph from the tribe of Issachar; 8 Hoshea son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim; 9 Palti son of Raphu from the tribe of Benjamin; 10 Gaddiel son of Sodi from the tribe of Zebulun; 11 Gaddi son of Susi from the tribe of Manasseh (from the tribe of Joseph); 12 Ammiel son of Gemalli from the tribe of Dan; 13 Sethur son of Michael from the tribe of Asher; 14 Nahbi son of Vophsi from the tribe of Naphtali; 15 Geuel son of Machi from the tribe of Gad. 16 These were the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and Moses renamed Hoshea son of Nun, Joshua. 17 When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up 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 Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? 20 Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes. 21 So they went up and scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob near the entrance to Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were living. Hebron was built seven years before Zoanin Egypt. 23 When they came to Eshcol Valley, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes, which was carried on a pole by two men. They also took some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called Eshcol Valley because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from scouting out the land. 26 The men went back to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified.We also saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites are living in the land of the Negev; the Hethites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” 31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim there — the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
Quick summary of Number 13:
– The Israelites have been delivered from Egypt (praise God!) and they have wandered their way through the wilderness and they are finally getting close to the promised land.
– So Moses sends out spies to check out the people, their cities (how strict are defenses?), the food, and basically see what they are going up against as they come to claim the land that God promised them.
– After a 40 day journey the “spies” come back and report:
27 They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there.
31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size.
Of the over a dozen “spies” that go out, only Joshua (who was Hoshea, son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim before the spy trip) and Caleb say, “Let’s go fight, God promised us this land we got this!” The rest of the men, for whatever reason (maybe they are tired from their journey, or maybe they are just lovers and not fighters), decide they want to exaggerate the size of the people and their strength, instead of entering the promised land.
Most of you know the rest of the story… because of this conversation, the Lord decides that only Joshua and Caleb will one day get to see the promised land. In the meantime, the Israelites go back into the wilderness to wander around for many years until all the other spies die (hence they aren’t able to step foot on the promised land that they told everyone was too big and bad to enter).
Now, after I dug into all that, I read the following snippet from Charles Spurgeon. It is referencing Numbers 13, specifically verse 32.
“The land of Canaan is a picture of the Christian faith. I do not think it was ever intended to be a picture of heaven, for there are no Canaanites, no sons of Anak, no giants and no kings with iron chariots in heaven. The children of Israel must stand this morning as the representatives of the great mass of mankind who will never try Christianity for themselves. They neither search our sacred books nor taste and try our religion. But this is what they do. They consider those who make a profession of faith as spies who have entered the land, and they look on our character and our conduct as the message that we bring back to them. The ungodly person does not read his Bible in order to discover whether the religion of Christ is holy and beautiful. No, he reads the living Bible – Christ’s church – and if the church is inconsistent, he condemns the Bible, though the Bible is never to be accountable for the sins of those who profess to believe it. Ungodly people, of course, do not enter into covenant with the Lord Jesus, or else they would soon discover that it is a good land that flows with milk and honey. Instead they say, “Let us see what these Christians make of it. Do they find it to be a happy thing? Does it support them in their hour of trouble? Does it comfort them in the midst of their trials?”
Ya’ll! I had to run around my house and find my husband so I could read this to him after I read it a second time! (Read it a second time if you skimmed it and didn’t get what Spurgeon was saying the first time, I had to also.)
Spurgeon compares the Israelites that stayed with the camp to unbelievers. Then he compares the spies to Christians or Christ followers. The whole Israelite camp didn’t go do the scouting themselves, they just waited to hear back from the spies to see what the next step should be. Same with unbelievers, they aren’t going to always go out themselves to read God’s Word, but what they will do is watch and see what the believers are doing and how our lives are being affected by it! How important is it that we stay in the Word, surround our lives with God’s Truth, and let that flow out of us everywhere we go?! People are watching to see how you react. Your KIDS are watching to see how you react (mama’s you feel that one?). Our kids can’t read yet, but they hear us talk about God and then they see how we act and react to daily life, they hear what we say, what we listen to or watch, how we respond when we are fearful or frustrated.
I don’t know about you, but that woke me up this morning and not only encouraged me to share this with you all, but to be more attentive to how I act and react to things so my kids don’t get confused. I want to be like Caleb and Joshua who said, “God will help us, we can do this with His help!” They had wisdom and they stepped out in faith even when everyone else around them backed down. God had already promised the Israelites this land! Even if there were really giants there, it would not have mattered because the victory was already theirs – because God said so. How relatable is that to you today? The victory is already His. We just have to take the next step forward. And we have to be an example of that faith and wisdom so that the unbelievers around us see God’s Truth instead of our sinful nature.
I hope God touched your heart and taught you something through this. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or would like me to share more of my Bible study notes with you! <3