Morning Light – Numbers 14

[Numbers 14] Avoiding the Wilderness Trip! In this chapter, the people respond to the ten spies who brought back the evil report. The voice of reason and rationale often provoke us to react to problems in fear and doubt. The ten spies’ evil report could have been motivated out of healthy caution and sensibility, but the result was 40 years of disappointment and death. The people are poised on the threshold of a tremendous breakthrough, but they listened to the wrong counsel. The Bible does say there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, but when the multitude of counsel is speaking out of unbelief, the consensus of popular opinion will only lead to frustration.

[Num 14:1-45 KJV] 1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, [which were] of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, [is] an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they [are] bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD [is] with us: fear them not. 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. 11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? 12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. 13 And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear [it], (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) 14 And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now [if] thou shalt kill [all] this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. 17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The LORD [is] longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation]. 19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. 20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21 But [as] truly [as] I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: 24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. 25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. 26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 27 How long [shall I bear with] this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28 Say unto them, [As truly as] I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, [concerning] which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 32 But [as for] you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, [even] forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, [even] forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. 36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, 37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, [which were] of the men that went to search the land, lived [still]. 39 And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we [be here], and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. 41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper. 42 Go not up, for the LORD [is] not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites [are] there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you. 44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, [even] unto Hormah.

The twelve spies returned, and ten of them gave an evil report. They saw themselves as grasshoppers before the giants in Canaan land, and they, unfortunately, conveyed that picture very effectively back to the congregation in the wilderness. There are times when listening to the voice of reason only results in prolonged heartache and disappointment. You have to look at what God has said both in His word and through the prophetic insights over our life. Our decisions at times have an impact that shapes our lives in dramatic ways – this was one of those times for the people, and the result was four decades of wandering. In believing the evil report, the people seeking to protect themselves signed their death warrant. Out of over 2 million people on the plain this day, only two would live to see the conquest of Canaan.

We live in a society where the opinions of men influence every aspect of life. Majority rule drives our economy, selects our elected leaders, and controls every significant social transaction in our culture. Joshua and Caleb saw the people’s fear and their quite natural reaction to such bad news and identified it as rebellion. In modern thinking, we see fear and timidity as a symptom and not a moral crime. You must pause and consider that from a biblical perspective, fear is rebellion against God. When you make Jesus Lord over your perspective. It matters not if none agree with you what does the promise of God say? When disaster, fear, and catastrophe drive multibillion-dollar industries, you must choose instead to believe the GOOD REPORT and declare the SKY ISN’T FALLING; the kingdom is coming!

In all of this, the people react violently to Caleb and Joshua’s positive message and prepare to stone them with stones. From a typological interpretation, stones represent words of accusation and criticism. The glory of God will find you and cover you when the enemy provokes those around you to reject and vilify your testimony. Stand fast and do not be swayed by the harsh looks and fierce assaults of others.

God was prepared to bring the people into their promise, but their own words became prophecy in their mouth – they would not see the land of promise. We must never allow ourselves to be unaware even under the most intense pressure of the impact of our words. We judge ourselves by what comes out of our mouth under pressure and the assault of the enemy. God offers to destroy the people and raise up a people from Moses. The meekness of this man under fire is standing between the glory of God and the shouting mob gathering stones to kill the three of them. What a tremendous heart Moses demonstrated in negotiating with God over the lives of those who were calling for his death and wanted nothing but his destruction. When the exodus because God promised to make Moses a god before Pharaoh.

When people blame you and are angry with you and see you in a light that contradicts what God says about you – they make you GOD in the situation. There was a time when a man of long acquaintance brought tremendous, deep, and lasting harm and hurt into my life. It took me years to get over it and not feel the sting of the mistreatment I suffered at this person’s hands. Then came the day that this man was undergoing a great trial, and he called for me to see him. On the way to his house, the Father said, “I have delivered your enemy into your hand … what are you going to do with him”? I hesitated, and after a few moments, answered, “I’m going to love him…” The immediate reply from the Father was “Just checking”! There will be times when God will place your enemy at your disposal, and what you do next will determine not only their path but your own experience of the mercy and grace of God in your own life.

Caleb and Joshua labeled the fear of the people as rebellion against God. God describes their fear and choosing to believe the evil report as whoredom. There is a salacious appetite in man for evil tidings, gossip, and the negative. Pessimism, sarcasm, and defeatism can be an addiction almost without a remedy, but the outcome is self engendered destruction. Caleb and Joshua had a different spirit. What will your choice be? The negative person seems very astute and accurate in his viewpoint because we live in a fallen world. You must choose if you want a different life than the wilderness experience, you must choose to believe the good report and bear the reproach of men and loss of credibility among your friends, family, and your peers.

The ten spies who brought the evil report died the day it came from their mouth. Make it your determination to never lend yourself to the negative view. It will seem unsophisticated and naïve, but God will be with you. Remember that He chooses the foolish and the weak and the unlikely to perform His wondrous works. The people see the ten spies’ fate and decide then to move onward into Canaan, but it is too late. God will not always hold the opportunity open for us to obey. Better to err in an exploit of faith than to delay and condemn yourself to a lifetime of disappointment and bitter wandering.

[Today: Numbers 15] Conduct in Caanan. In this chapter, God instructs Moses and the people regarding their conduct before Him when they come into the land of promise. To the children of Israel, entering Canaan was still very much only a hope and a possibility. To God, the land of milk and honey was a foregone conclusion. There was no question that God would bring them into their blessing time. However, the question was whether they would remain faithful to Him once He brought them out of the wilderness.

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