Half Full or Half Empty?
Heavenly Father, I come to You now, quietly, hoping only to be with You and learn from Your Word.
Read Numbers 13:1-33
 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.  These are their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur;  from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori;  from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;  from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph;  from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;  from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu;  from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi;  from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi;  from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli;  from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;  from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi;  from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki.  These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)  When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.  See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.  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?  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.)  So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath.  They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)  When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.  That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there.  At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.  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.  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.  But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.  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.”  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.”  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”  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.  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.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat weakness did these "explorers" show here?
Some of us are naturally more positive than others. Moses, the leader who met with God face to face (12:8), knew that ultimately their journey would take them to the land of God’s promise (10:29). So when God told him to send some men to explore Canaan, it was no problem. Moses was a good leader who gave clear instructions (17-20). The men knew what to look for. So, the twelve tribal leaders set out on a six-week journey which took them about 250 miles north. They saw a land flowing with milk and honey (27), exactly what God had promised (Exod. 3:8,17). But for most of them, instead of seeing God’s promise about to be fulfilled, they could only see potential enemies (28,29,31-33). Caleb and Joshua, who saw God’s promise about to be fulfilled, were lone voices (13:30; 14:6). If this was just a question of coming to a balanced conclusion, it would have been useful to hear both reports, but the issue was obedience to God. And the doubters didn’t keep their lack of faith to themselves. The rumors they spread (32) would have a devastating impact on Israel.
Think of the impact you have on other people around you. Do you make their trust in God stronger or weaker?
Lord, strengthen my faith where it is weak and help me to be a person who strengthens the faith of others.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.