Numbers 13:1-3. 17-21, 27-33
1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “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.”
3 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.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath.
The Israelites were close to the land that God had promised them. They wouldn’t have to eat manna nor camp in the desert anymore. And the LORD wanted them to see the bountiful land He was giving them. It really was a “land of milk and honey.”
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.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”
32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.
33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
So the spies came back with their report. The land was indeed fruitful and rich… but it was inhabited by a strong people. All the spies saw the same thing, but 10 of the 12 forgot that God is stronger than the current inhabitants. They didn’t believe that God could handle them. Only 2 of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, believed that God would give them the victory… that He was with them.
The bad report did more than just deny God’s faithfulness, it disheartened the whole community! Their fear and doubt were contagious. The result? The Israelites would spend the next 40 years in the desert. They didn’t believe God would give them the land, so He didn’t. They all died in the desert – except Joshua and Caleb – and the Promised Land was given to their children.
For more on this, click here for another post on this topic.
36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
As many times as I’ve read this, I just noticed “everything is possible for you.” Jesus didn’t doubt that His Father could take the cup from Him, but Jesus laid down His will. Could I, would I, trust my Heavenly Father to receive from His Hand whatever He wills, knowing He could change it in a moment? Jesus accepted His Father’s will, without doubting His Father’s love.