Peter Barnes: Numbers 13
(6 October 2019)
SERMON NOTES: BELIEF VERSUS UNBELIEF (Numbers 13)
In Numbers 13-14 we learn why God ordained that Israel wander in the wilderness for forty years before entering the Promised Land.
1. God’s promises are true.
The names are listed in verses 1-16; note that Hoshea (‘He saved’) is another name for Joshua (‘Yahweh saves’). The initiative comes from the people (Deut.1:22) and God (Num 13:1-2).
– ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ is found about 21 times in the Old Testament. The spies were to check out the land – 13:17-20 – and soon found that it lived up to what God had said – 13:23-24. They reported this news back to the main body of Israel – 13:25-27.
– Rev.22:1-5. Is this promise true? Yes, see Rev.22:6.
2. Unbelief is short-sighted.
Here are the promises of God and the evidence – 13:23, 27. The ten spies see two giant obstacles – 13:28-29, 31-33. The cities are well-fortified (recall Josh.6) and the people so big that the ten spies felt like grasshoppers in comparison – Deut.9:2.
3. Faith is prepared to stand against the majority.
‘Be of good courage,’ is what Moses says to the spies (13:20). Often, probably mostly, that is exactly what is needed. Note Numbers 13:30. Caleb is not standing up to Egypt or Canaan but to most of Israel.
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries it shall be done.
– 2 Tim.1:7. That comes from God alone, and it leads us back to Him.