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Giants & Gigantic Grapes | Numbers 13:21-33, Numbers 14:5-9, 20-24

We’re talking about Joshua and Caleb today, two men sent by Moses to explore the Promised Land, and boy, did they ever use their “fly-swatter of faith!” Okay, let’s jump into Numbers and find inspiration about faith & courage in Christ from these guys!

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Fear knocked, faith answered and no one was there. Hi, welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica, and I’m so glad you’re here. Fear doesn’t play fair and that’s because we have an enemy who doesn’t play fair. But when you and I lift up the shield of faith, or as we’ve been calling it this week, the fly swatter of faith, that fear starts to fear, right? We’re chasing it down because we know that our God is greater and he is going to help us to overcome our fears.

One thing I’ve learned in my life is that courage is courageous and sometimes you don’t feel it. You have to do the thing, scared. So I think today’s story is going to fill you up with courage, and who knows what it’ll lead to in your life. We’re going to be studying two very faithful, strong, and courageous men. Their names are Joshua and Caleb. They were two of 12 men whom Moses sent into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, that God was giving the Israelites to check it out. It’s what God asked Moses to do, and Moses passed on the message. So join me now in the Book of Numbers chapter 13, beginning in verse 21, because as you and I are about to find out, there were mixed reviews about the land. Alright.

So they went up and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 Going north, they passed through the Negev and arrived at Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai—all descendants of Anak—lived. (The ancient town of Hebron was founded seven years before the Egyptian city of Zoan.) 23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them!

So symbolic of the promised land, right?

They also brought back samples of the pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the valley of Eshcol (which means “cluster”), because of the cluster of grapes the Israelite men cut there. 25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron,

Aaron was Moses’ brother.

…and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

Who’s got the faith goggles on? It’s Caleb! verse 31 now.

But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed.

Fear goggles.

“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants[b] there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

I want to pitch a tiny tent here and say, be careful, and I’m speaking to myself here too, about how you speak. Don’t tell fear story. Nip it in the bud. Put on your faith goggles and talk about the goodness of God and how he has been faithful in the past and how you know he’s going to be faithful in the present and in the future. Because when you tell fear story, it spreads because while courage is contagious, so is cowardice. The people rebelled at this point. They said, if only we hadn’t left Egypt where they were slaves. So this is where we pick up the story in numbers 14 now, verse five.

Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. 6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!

Here’s the faith story, right?

And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”

To hear Caleb’s words right there to hear what Joshua is saying. You don’t have to be afraid of the people speaking fear in your life. The Lord is with you. Okay. At this point, the people wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb and God was not happy with the people who had chosen to rebel. The people who had chosen fear. So Moses interceded for the people and called on God’s magnificent and unfailing love. We pick up the story now in numbers chapter 14, verse 20.

Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. 21 But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, 22 not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. 23 They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.

This story is very special to me because my husband and I named our son Joshua Caleb, after these two strong and courageous men, and our son has lived up to both of those names. He almost died from a terrible disease, and he is the most faithful, strong, courageous, positive person I know. My husband likes to say, he always goes into whatever land God sends him and finds that it is good. May you and I live that way as well. Until next time, take off those fear goggles and put on the goggles of faith, for you are loved.

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