Numbers 13

Faith looks at difficulties through God but unbelief looks through difficulties at God.
All things are possible, if but promised, to him who believes.

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

4 And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.

5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.

6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.

8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.

9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.

10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.

11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.

12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.

13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.

14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.

15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

17 ¶ And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

18 And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

21 ¶ So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26 ¶ And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 12:16 – 13:20 – The Spies Sent to Canaan

   By comparing the opening verses with Deuteronomy 1:19-22, it appears that the suggestion about the spies emanated from the people, and that their proposal was graciously acquiesced in by God. But let us remember that it is a profound mistake to spy out or criticize the land or lot into which we are being led. We are almost certain to see the difficulties apart from the grace, and they sometimes appear to be insurmountable.
   It is better to await with calm trust the unfoldings of divine providence. The book of the future is in the hands of the Lamb that was slain, Revelation 5:7-8. Take no thought for tomorrow! Go steadily on! God will go before you, and cleave your way! Unbelief sees giants and spells them with “G;” faith sees God, and spells giants with “g.” Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God” Romans 4:20. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 13:21-33 – The Majority and Minority Reports

   It was August. Eshcol lay southeast of Hebron. Its sloping hills were covered with choice grapevines, the clusters of which weighed ten to twelve pounds. The tall, muscular Canaanites presented a strong contrast to the more diminutive Egyptians. The spies compared the Canaanites with themselves, instead of with Almighty God. Do not look at God through circumstances, but at circumstances through God. There is no land worth possessing which has not its giants; but, like Caleb, faith looks not at giants, but to the living God. See Numbers 14:8. The doubters said Can God? Caleb affirmed, God can! Only follow God fully! Be utterly yielded to Him. Present yourself to God as alive from the dead, and eternally united to the living Christ; then He will bruise Satan under your feet and make you tread upon the lion and adder, Psalm 91:13; Romans 16:20. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 13:33—We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

   There is a good deal of talk in this chapter about giants and fenced cities. But the way of speaking about them was very different on the part of the ten, and on that of the two. The ten said: “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.” But the two said: “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” They saw the same spectacles in their survey of the land; but the result in the one case was panic, in the other confidence and peace. What made the difference? It lay in this, that the ten spies compared themselves with the giants, the two compared the giants with God. “The LORD is with us: fear them not” (Numbers 14:9).
   Faith looks away from the greatness of her difficulty to the greatness of her God. “If considered in itself, it is clear that this difficulty is too great for me to combat; but it is nothing to my God. The wall is too solid and high for me; but before God’s touch it will fall down like cardboard. These ropes are stout; but before God they are only as tow before flame. I will not consider the man that shall die, and the son of man that shall be made as grass; but will look away resolutely to my Maker, who made heaven and earth, and who can still the roaring of the sea.”
   Do you want a fearless faith, be careful not to measure the comparative forces of yourself and others; but remember that God is working for you to will and do of His own good pleasure. If He is for you, who can be against you? When compared with Primrose Hill, Snowdon is high; but where is it when compared with the Himalayas? —Our Daily Homily