THE STORY #6: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: (Wandering – Numbers and Deuteronomy)
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
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INTRO TO TOPIC: In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
- That’s true of today! What does it take for us to become strong and courageous?
- John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”
- Today we’re going to look at the story of 12 great leaders who were chosen for a mission.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
- We have been looking at Exodus where Moses delivered God’s people from bondage in Egypt. God brought them to Mount Sinai where He gave them new commands and new covenant. In Numbers, God gets ready to take them into the Promised Land:
- “And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.” (Num. 10:12).
- All through chapters 11-12, the people continually complain. God had delivered them from slavery, provided manna and water for them, but they kept grumbling.
1. THE TWELVE SPIES:
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” (Num. 13:1-2).
- Two of these men were Joshua and Caleb. They went on a 40 day recon mission.
- God’s promise: “I am giving you this land!” Did they believe the promise?
2. THE BAD REPORT:
“26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.” (Num. 13:26-28).
- The first thing the spies did was gave a report of the land – wonderful as God had said.
- But then they added a “nevertheless.” Have you ever done that in your life? God calls you to do something, or you have a dream in your heart, but you add a ‘nevertheless’?
- All twelve men had been slaves in Egypt, and ten of them had a defeatist mentality.
- Whiney voice: “The people are strong, the cities are fortified, wah wah wah!”
3. TWO DIFFERENT REPORTS:
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Num. 13:30).
- Caleb knew the power of words to influence people, so he told the people: “Shut up!”
- Joshua and Caleb came back with a good report: “We are well able to overcome!”
“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Num. 13:31-33).
- The others said, “We are NOT able, for they are stronger than we.” It seemed impossible.
4. THE POWER OF FAITH AND FEAR:
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7).
- What we believe about ourselves significantly affects what we become!
- The ten spies said, “We saw the giants, and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
- They saw themselves as small and insignificant; their enemies saw them the same way.
- Look at how their negative report affected the whole congregation:
- “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.” (Num. 14:1).
- They had a little pity-party and said, “Let’s go back to Egypt!”
- In the natural, it seemed impossible. But with God, all things are possible!
“6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” (Num. 14:6-9).
- Was there a happy ending? “All the congregation said to stone them with stones.” (v.10).
- The congregation had more faith in the enemy (fear) than faith in God (trust).
5. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR BELIEFS:
- The people had said, “if only we had died in this wilderness!” (Num. 14:2).
“28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” (Num. 14:28-30).
- God had wanted all of the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land.
- But because of their rebellion and unbelief, only Joshua and Caleb would go in.
- For 40 years, they would wander the wilderness until all of those over twenty years died.
THE BIG IDEA: The story of Joshua and Caleb gives us the keys to being strong and courageous as we face impossible situations and giants in our own lives today.
APPLICATION: HOW DO WE BECOME STRONG AND COURAGEOUS?
- When giants come against us, our natural response is to feel intimidated and inadequate.
- What are some of the giants we face in our lives today?
- Diseases, disappointments, depressions, addictions, financial struggles, career setbacks, family breakdowns and personal failures – to name a few.
- Three encouragements God gave Joshua when he succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader:
a. GOD’S PROMISE:
“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6).
- God has promised to give us victory and help us overcome our problems: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57).
- If we want to become strong and courageous, we must believe the promise!
b. GOD’S WORD:
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you… This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:7-8).
- If we want to experience God’s victory in our lives, we must be obedient to His Word.
- Also – how can we know (and believe) His promises if we don’t know what they are?
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13).
- “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
- “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37).
c. GOD’S PRESENCE:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).
- God has commanded us to not be afraid or dismayed. Dismayed means to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly.
- How can we overcome our fear and become courageous? Remember: God is with us!
CLOSING PRAYER: For God’s people to become strong and courageous to face their giants.
BENEDICTION: The Lord gave this benediction to Moses to give to Aaron and the priests to bless the people:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” (Num. 6:24-26).
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/