February 23 - Nº 54 Numbers 13-14; Deuteronomy 1:19-46
After leaving Mount Sinai, the Israelites arrived at a desert oasis called Kadesh Barnea. God told Moses to send a leader from each tribe to check out the land they were about to enter and report back about its produce, its people, and its towns. The twelve spies explored the land of Canaan for 40 days. When they returned to the camp, they displayed some of the amazing fruit they had found. One cluster of grapes was so large it had to be carried on a pole between two men. When it was time to give their report, ten of the men said, “It’s true that the land is very productive. It flows with milk and honey. But the people are stronger and taller than we are. We seemed like grasshoppers next to them! And their cities are huge with very high walls!” But the other two men, Joshua and Caleb, insisted that none of that mattered. The Israelites should trust God and take possession of the land. “We can do it!” they both claimed. Unfortunately, the other ten men rebelled against them. They spread bad reports all over camp and grumbled to everyone saying, “The Lord hates us. The only reason He brought us out of Egypt was so that the Amorites in this land could kill us and make our wives and children their slaves.” The Israelites were so upset that they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb and choose a new leader to take them back to Egypt. Suddenly God’s glory appeared at the Tabernacle. Everyone could see that He had arrived. He warned Moses that He was sending a plague to destroy the people. He was tired of their disobedience. Once again Moses reasoned with God. “But then everyone will think that the Israelites’ God was not able to bring His people into the land that He promised to give them, so he just slaughtered them in the wilderness!” he argued. Moses begged God to forgive the people again. God responded, “I have forgiven them, but these people will never see the land I promised to their fathers. This is the tenth time since I rescued them from Egypt that they have disobeyed me and tested my patience. Tell them that I am going to send them back into the wilderness where they will wander for 40 years until this adult generation dies. Everyone who is 20 years old or older will not enter the land except for Caleb and Joshua.” The ten spies who brought back the bad report were suddenly struck by a plague and died. When Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had said, they broke down and cried. They realized how badly they had sinned. The next morning, they decided to go into the land on their own. Moses warned them not to do this, since God would not be going with them. But they went anyway, and they were badly defeated. They had no choice but to return to the wilderness where they lived for the next 40 years.
Have you ever missed out on a special blessing God wanted to give you because you were trusting what other people said—instead of listening to what He promised? God has so many good things He wants to give to us, but we often miss out because we let our friends, or our fears get in the way.