Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week we’re going to study a story that happened as the Israelites were travelling toward the promised land, and close enough that they could almost taste it. Here’s what happened:
Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.
(Numbers 13:17-20 ESV)
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people 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. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then 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 are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:25-33 ESV)
The purpose of this was to see what would be involved in entering the promised land. God had given them this land in which to establish themselves after centuries of slavery. But, there were already people there, and so Moses sent some spies ahead to see if they were friendly, hostile, easily overcome or terrifying.
There was good news – it’s a land of milk and honey. It’s good land, and will provide for their needs and even luxuries. The news wasn’t all good, though, there are strong people there living in fortified cities.
Those were the facts, and Caleb (one of the spies) said it was achievable. They should go and take the land God had given them, with bravery and conviction in God’s plan.
But the rest of the spies derailed that plan, saying it was impossible. Then, they embellished what they’d seen, going well beyond the facts. They said there were giants, and they’d be devoured there. This prompted a rebellion against Moses, the leader God had put in place to lead Israel into the promised land.
Question: Why do you think the other spies lied about what they’d seen? What motivated them? Have you ever been similarly motivated?