Numbers 13:1-2, 17-33 (NIV)
1 The Lord said to Moses,
2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.
18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.
19 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?
20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath.
22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.
24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there.
25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.
27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.
28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.
29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”
32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.
33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
How do I make wise decisions in such an uncertain world?
The story of the Hebrew “spies”
Two definitions of the word “spy”
- To look at, or see; to inspect
- To engage in espionage
A spy looks for vulnerabilities and weaknesses
A tourist goes sightseeing
God called these 12 to enter into the Promised Land as tourists before they would settle there as citizens
- An Open Door Invitation
- An Open Heart Investigation
- An Open Path Invigoration
What was the difference between the two and the ten?
The ten misunderstood the mission:
They went in as “spies” when God called them to be “tourists”
Once you see and explore what God has for you, you will gain the strength to see it through