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Moses 31 – Results Of Pessimism

Is it your desire to go to heaven? What are you anticipating? I want to see God the Father who sent His Son to die for me.
I dont want to miss heaven. Why did some of ancient Israel never entered the promised land? Can we learn a few lessons from their mistakes and avoid that which caused them to miss eternal bliss?
What kind of report did the 12 spies bring from the promised land?
Verse 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.

Can you see the smiles on the faces of the people? They were so excited. Good news at last. Do you think the devil was happy with this good report?

Verse 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. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

Anak? Amelikes? Hittites?


What does the word imply?

Something impossible to man. Its use here implies their lack of faith and reveals their sin. Who wanted the credit?

Had they merely stated the facts of the situation, they would have done all that was required of them, but in giving this word they interposed their private opinion that the task ahead was more than the strength of Israel could accomplish.

Here we have the opinion of 10 men. What about the other two?

Verse 30 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.”

I like his attitude. All God’s biddings are His enabling’s. But listen to this pathetic attitude:

Verse 31-33 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.” 32 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. 33 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.”

Fortunately the people believed Caleb’s report, trusting God do gain the victory, and they concert the land. Are you trusting God? How big is your God? Bigger than your problems? Who prompts us to disbelieve God and who prompts us to become discouraged?

Now the scene changed. Hope and courage gave place to cowardly despair, as the spies uttered the sentiments of their unbelieving hearts, which were filled with discouragement prompted by Satan. What effect does our douts and unbelieve have on others?
Their unbelief cast a gloomy shadow over the congregation, and the mighty power of God, so often manifested in behalf of the chosen nation, was forgotten. Are we pondering over God’s leading in our lives when we are in a crisis?
The people did not wait to reflect; they did not reason that He who had brought them thus far would certainly give them the land; they did not call to mind how wonderfully God had delivered them from their oppressors, cutting a path through the sea and destroying the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh.
They left God out of the question, and acted as though they must depend solely on the power of arms. {PP 388.1}
What is the one thing that limits God power in our lives?
In their unbelief they limited the power of God and distrusted the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. And they repeated their former error of murmuring against Moses and Aaron. “This, then, is the end of our high hopes,” they said.
“This is the land we have traveled all the way from Egypt to possess.” They accused their leaders of deceiving the people and bringing trouble upon Israel.
The people were desperate in their disappointment and despair. A wail of agony arose and mingled with the confused murmur of voices. Caleb comprehended the situation, and, bold to stand in defense of the word of God, he did all in his power to counteract the evil influence of his unfaithful associates.
For an instant the people were stilled to listen to his words of hope and courage respecting the goodly land. He did not contradict what had already been said; the walls were high and the Canaanites strong.
But God had promised the land to Israel. “Let us go up at once and possess it,” urged Caleb; “for we are well able to overcome it.”
But the ten, interrupting him, pictured the obstacles in darker colors than at first. “We be not able to go up against they declared; “for they are stronger than we. . . . All the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
These men, having entered upon a wrong course, stubbornly set themselves against Caleb and Joshua, against Moses, and against God.
Every advance step rendered them the more determined. They were resolved to discourage all effort to gain possession of Canaan.
They distorted the truth in order to sustain their baleful influence. It “is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof,” they said. This was not only an evil report, but it was also a lying one. It was inconsistent with itself.
The spies had declared the country to be fruitful and prosperous, and the people of giant stature, all of which would be impossible if the climate were so unhealthful that the land could be said to “eat up the inhabitants.”
But when men yield their hearts to unbelief they place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to what lengths he will lead them. {PP 389.1}
Exodus 14:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.
As the spies repeated their doubts to the princes of their respective tribes, the evil report spread throughout the camp.

How careful should we be not to speak negatively
Verse 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
One can imagine the wild charges that would be raised against Moses and Aaron and the agitation to elect other leaders who would guide them back to Egypt

Revolt and open mutiny quickly followed; for Satan had full sway, and the people seemed bereft of reason. They cursed Moses and Aaron, forgetting that God hearkened to their wicked speeches, and that, enshrouded in the cloudy pillar, the Angel of His presence was witnessing their terrible outburst of wrath.
Verse 3,4 Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
Have ever been rejected by the very people you love so dearly? What was Moses and Aaron supposed to do? And you and I?
Verse 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

This is something we too can do. Just fall on our faces.

What were the two postitive spies going to do?

Verses 6-9 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.”

And eventually the rebels, the pessimists saw the light, fell on their faces and confess their stupid unbelieve. I wish it was.

Verses 10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.

How is God going to handle this murderous attempt? And how will He do it at the end of time?

The unfaithful spies were loud in denunciation of Caleb and Joshua, and the cry was raised to stone them. The insane mob seized missiles with which to slay those faithful men.

They rushed forward with yells of madness, when suddenly the stones dropped from their hands, a hush fell upon them, and they shook with fear.

God had interposed to check their murderous design. The glory of His presence, like a flaming light, illuminated the tabernacle.

All the people beheld the signal of the Lord. A mightier one than they had revealed Himself, and none dared continue their resistance. The spies who brought the evil report crouched terror-stricken, and with bated breath sought their tents.

Of what did God’s glory remind them? The glory that appeared on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:16, 17) and the glory that filled the tabernacle at its dedication (Ex. 40:34, 35). It was the appearance of the holy Shekinah that no doubt deterred the people from stoning the two spies.

Verses 11,12 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
How long will they not believe Me?

Can you hear the pain in the heart of God? Have you being praying for someone for a very very long time without success?

Throughout their history the Jews have laid great stress on their descent from Abraham, yet they consistently failed in the very thing for which he was honored of God (Gen. 15:6; Gal. 3:7, 9). This lack of faith is what kept them from entering into God’s rest (Heb. 3:19; 4:11).

All the signs.

How many signs can you think of? Manna, Pillar by day and night. “Signs” in their highest form are a kind of evidence intended to confirm the words of God (see Ex. 14:31; John 12:37).


The word denotes a plague or pestilence in general, on both man and beast.

Make of you a nation greater and mightier than they

Moses (see Ex. 32:10) would thus become a second Abraham, so realizing all that had been promised to that patriarch (Gen. 12:2; 18:18; Deut. 26:5; Isa. 51:2)

And Moses replied: “Lord I am not worthy of Your noble ideal for me, but I really appreciate you choosing me.” No no no. But again Moses pleaded for his people. He could not consent to have them destroyed, and he himself made a mightier nation. Appealing to the mercy of God, he said:

Verses 13,14 And Moses said to the LORD: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

Egyptians will hear. Moses uses these words as an argument with Jehovah in his petition for Israel (see Ex. 32:12; Deut. 9:28; Joshua 7:9; Isa. 48:9, 11; etc.).

Verses 15,16 Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, 16 ‘Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’

Verse 17-19 And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

What a beautiful prayer! What an unselfish leader! He is typifying the character of Christ.

Do you think the Lord will hear his prayer?

Verses 20-25 Then the LORD said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.”

The Lord promised to spare Israel from immediate destruction; but because of their unbelief and cowardice He could not manifest His power to subdue their enemies. Therefore in His mercy He bade them, as the only safe course, to turn back toward the Red Sea.

In their rebellion the people had exclaimed, “Would God we had died in this wilderness!” Now this prayer was to be granted. The Lord declared: “As ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward. . . . 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.”

And of Caleb He said, “My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall possess it.” As the spies had spent forty days in their journey, so the hosts of Israel were to wander in the wilderness forty years.

Was there a genuine repentance and sorrow for the wicked thing they did? What is the difference between a heartfelt sorrow and a sorrow which relates to the consequences?

After the break we will discover more of the ways in which God deals with rebellious and unbelieving sinners. God wants to save you for His kingdom. Please grant Him permission to do it the way He thinks best. And please don’t complain of murmur. Trust our loving God with all your heart.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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