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5. Ready or Not, the Will of God Reigns

August 14, 2009

Text:      Numbers 13:1-14:44

Outline:            I. Investigate             Numbers 13:1-25

II. Report Back         Numbers 13:26-33

III. Decide                   Numbers 14:1-38

IV. Final Report        Numbers 14:39-45

Context/Discussion/Comments:

This portion of scripture is also recorded again in Deuteronomy 1. Numbers is written from God’s perspective and Deuteronomy is written from Moses’ perspective.

The Lord tells Moses to send one of the leaders from each tribe to explore the land which is being given to them by God. Moses picks a man from each tribe and sends them from the Desert of Paran through the Negev and into the hill country. Their assignment is to assess the land and its’ people. Is the land good or bad, are the people strong or weak, are the cities fortified, is the soil fertile, are there trees, and is there fruit? They are to bring back evidence of its’ bounty. They set out to the Desert of Zin, went to the far north, returned via Hebron, cut fruit, and returned 40 days later. Seek out a good Bible map that traces their journey as we know it. It appears they travel 500 miles in the 40 days or 12.5 miles a day. This was not an easy assignment but it was based on AGREEMENT between God, Moses, and the people.

They group of twelve return and report to Aaron, Moses, and all of Israel saying:

1. The land flows with milk and honey. It is fertile and bears much fruit.

2. The people are powerful.

3. The cities are fortified.

4. The people are numerous.

Caleb recommends they proceed to conquer the land [Joshua was the other] but ten of the leaders feared what would happen if they tried to conquer this land and these people. The ten go out among the people and convince them that the people are too big and strong for them to conquer. They did not remember that the Lord had said He would send His angel ahead of them so they could take the land God promised to them. Their report caused great DISAGREEMENT between the people, God, Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua.

The people discuss the report among themselves, weep, and begin to grumble against Moses and Aaron. They would rather have died in Egypt or the desert. They prefer another leader who would take them back to Egypt. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb humble themselves before Israel reiterating that the land is good and that if the Lord is pleased, He will give it to them. They attempt to turn Israel’s discouragement into courage by reminding the people that they should not rebel against the Lord or be afraid of the people because the Lord is with them. The people want to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb but the Glory of the Lord appeared and gave them protection. The Lord’s patience has run out and He pronounces His judgment, declaring He can start over. There is a great SCHISM between God and His people.

Moses intervenes for the second time, reminding God that if He does destroy them, His glory and power will go unnoticed among the nations. Moses leans on God’s character; that He is powerful, slow to anger, loving, forgiving, and just in His punishment. He pleads with God to forgive them. God does forgive them but He does not pardon them. Not one of them who grumbled against the Lord will enter the Promised Land. Only Caleb and Joshua are worthy. In the meantime, Israel will wander in the desert toward the Red Sea for 40 years until all who have grumbled while experiencing the goodness of the Lord have perished. Only the children will be spared. The 10 leaders who influenced the people to turn against God’s Will were struck down with a plague.

Moses reports what God has decided to the people. They mourn, promise to repent, and decide to go conquer the land. They are told not to go into the land but they go anyway and all are slaughtered. Israel’s DISOBEDIENCE and ARROGANCE caused God to ABANDON them.

Lessons/Applications:

1. Believe God. Believe God’s Word. Believe God’s Promises. Depend on Him. Trust Him. And encourage others to do likewise.

2. God doesn’t ask us to exercise blind faith. He asks us to have a trusting faith, a confident faith, an assured faith, a visionary faith, and an excited faith. His objective is to encourage us with knowledge of Him and His Purpose.

3. God lets us investigate and assess where He is leading us. He wants us to know the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult. He wants us to see with eyes of faith, not eyes of unbelief. Only then can we know how good, great, and powerful God Almighty is.

4. The Will of God focuses on the future. The Will of Man focuses on the present. The Will of Satan focuses on the past. Our hearts determine whose Will we prefer to follow.

5. Faith is evident when one’s fear of the Lord is greater than one’s fear of man.

6. The Lord’s leaders are replaced according to His timetable, not ours and according to His righteousness, not ours.

7. God is a God of second chances, even multiple chances, but He is not a God of infinite chances. God doesn’t accept appeals after pronouncing judgment.

8. God’s patience is much greater than ours but it is not infinite. God readily forgives but He doesn’t always pardon. Sin always has its’ consequences. There is a time of accountability in everyone’s life. God calls, God beckons, but we make the choice.

9. God honors our hearts. True humility before Him releases a flood of Grace and Mercy including Divine protection.

10. God grows weary of and expresses His righteous anger over repentant words that are not genuine. Repeat offender, beware!

11. God desires to be our Savior and Lord, not just our Savior.

12. Unity in the Lord is required to accomplish the Will of God. We must accept, believe, and trust the Will of God to do the Will of God. We must humbly bow down before Him with joyful hearts of thanksgiving in worship, acknowledging Him as our God, as the God of Gods, as the King of Kings, and as the Creator of All.

13. Investigate: Look into the claims of Christ and the Promises of God and Believe.

Report Back: Understand what is true based on your knowledge and experience. Bring your questions and apprehensions before the Lord for resolution.

Decide: Commit fully to obeying God’s Word and God’s Will. Trust Him, Depend on Him, Worship Him, and Love Him always.

Final Report: Anticipate hearing His words “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter into My Rest.” instead of His words “I do not know you; depart from me.” which He gave to rebellious Israel.

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