Bible Study: Numbers 13-14, Lacking Faith & Obedience even when God Reveals His Plans

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When God reveals his plan for your life, some commonly make the mistake of sitting back, and simply waiting to receive it. It might not even be as vast as the plan for your life, but even a mere promise he made. God requires obedience and faith, even when he tells you what his plans are. I want to use an example we see in Numbers Chapter 13.

I know what you’re thinking, “you prefaced with obedience, and now you’re moving into Numbers and the old law?” Well before we start defending ourselves from the Law of Moses, I should mention that Numbers 13 doesn’t have anything to do with that. Numbers 13 is about the Spies sent into Canaan, and I think there’s something really interesting worth noting.

Chapter 13 starts with the Lord saying to Moses, “Send men to spy on the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Numbers 13:2)
From there God tells Moses to send one select person from each of the 12 Tribes, and after listing the names of the spies and where they were from, Moses says something interesting to them as he sent them off.

Moses says to them, “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?” (Numbers 13: 17-20)

So while Moses is speaking here, we naturally want to make note that it’s Moses speaking, and not God. However, God did give the commandment to send Spies into the Land. So we see 2 interesting things in what God says in verse 2. First he tells them the outcome, they’re GOING to get that land. Second, he tells them to go take a look at the land. Moses then tells them to get an idea of what the land is like. Why does this matter? Why does it matter if there are a few people living there, or if there’s a lot, or if they are strong or weak? Why does it matter if there are trees or not? It’s going to be theirs, despite what already inhabits the land, it will be theirs.

Because it’s a reflection of Gods grace. 

God sent them ahead of time, to see what they were up against. In Numbers Chapter 14, the people of Israel are dismayed, and ask Moses and Aaron to let them choose a leader who will lead them back into Egypt. They were promised the Land of Canaan, by the living God who had done so much for them, and yet they chose to not believe. Remember, the point of what you’re reading here is that God still requires obedience and faith even when he tells you what he is going to do.

The Israelites have always been really good at being obedient, but they frequently have lacked in their faith throughout the nations history. Chapter 14 is where we all know, God said to Israel that that no one who had seen Gods glory and signs of deliverance would enter into the Promised Land. He even goes as far as calling them disobedient, on top of lacking the faith that the Lord would deliver the land into their hands. 

Our choices doesn’t mean God’s will isn’t going to come to pass, but they can mean that we will not be the ones who God delivers his promises to. Without our obedience and faith, he will choose someone else to deliver on his word. God wants to involve you in his will, but if you fear the sword that stands between you and the Promised Land, more than you fear the Lord, then he will choose someone else to expel the enemy from the land he inhabits, even if it rightfully belongs to God’s people.

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