Monday, July 21, 2014

Luscious Fruit

O. T. #325  "Luscious Fruit"
July 21, 2014
Numbers 13
The LORD said to Moses, Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.  Numbers 13:1a (NIV)


A couple of years ago, I received a tame blackberry bush as a gift, which I planted in the place of my prospective fruit and flower garden. Last year it had a few small berries on it, which the blackbirds ate. This year, there were several luscious, sweet, huge blackberries. I picked them and ate them. So why don't I go buy more bushes so I can enjoy a lot of luscious huge blackberries? I've seen how they grow. I have even tasted them. But do I have faith that if I pay the cost of purchasing the bushes, I will receive the most? Do I want to pay the price?
Well, the spies for Israel saw with their own eyes and tasted with their own lips the luscious fruit in Canaan. but did they have the faith that they could conquer it for themselves? Did they want to pay the price to do so? Follow on and we will find out.

The LORD had promised Abraham and his descendants a land of their own. It was where they could worship Him and enjoy His provisions. Along their way,they were given daily food and water.They received the commands on how to live, the sacrificial system which pleased God when followed. Israel had experienced the power of God as He brought the plagues upon Egypt so they could be freed from slavery and seek their own land; He parted the Red Sea for them to cross and protected them by drowning the Egyptian army which pursued them and wanted to bring Israel back as slaves; they experience the Shekinah Glory of God through the cloud; they got their quail meat to eat. What more evidence did they need that God is real, caring, and all-powerful?

Could He not bring down walls of great cities with only the sound of trumpets? Could He not keep the sun from going down so they could kill their enemies? Could God confuse and frighten their enemy so they turn and kill their own? Where is their faith, love, obedience in and for God?

Before discussing chapter 13, let's go to Deuteronomy 1:22.
Moses is speaking: And they came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.

The people asked for spies; it had not been Moses' idea (although he approved), nor had it been God's idea. When Jehovah heard their request, He approved; and the spies were sent to search out the Promised Land.  It seems that the original idea for an expedition came from man and not from God.(Falwell)

Now we pick up verse 1 of chapter 13. What are the instructions God gives to Moses?
  • Send out men to search the land of Canaan, which He would give the children of Israel.
  • One man from each tribe was to be sent as a spy. We read the twelve names in verses 4-16.
The leaders are different from those previously mentioned. Presumably, the tribal leaders in the four earlier lists were older men. The task for the spies called for some leaders who were younger, probably about forty years of age, based on the ages of Caleb and Joshua.  (MacArthrur)

This plan was the desire of the people, not the commandment of the Lord. He permitted this plan to be used so that He might reveal to the people what their hearts were really like. God had already told them many times what Canaan was like, what nations wee there, and how He would defeat their enemies and give them their promised inheritance; so what need was there for men to go in and spy out the land? Sad to say, human nature prefers to walk by sight, not by faith. (Wiersbe)

What need, indeed.


The two most important men of these twelve scouts were Caleb (verse 6) and Joshua (verse 8). Oshea is another name for Joshua. I looked it up. We know that the twelve were gone on the expedition for 40 days. I assume they traveled by foot, not donkey or camel, for it is not mentioned.

The assignment of the 12 men was three-fold:
  1. Look at the land, see what it is like, if it is good or bad, fertile or poor. Are there trees on the land? Bring back some fruit of the land (season of the first ripe grapes).
  2. Observe the people, whether they are strong or weak, few or many.
  3. Check out their cities, if they are walled or fortified.
So they went and explored the land. Details of the places they quietly visited are mentioned in verses 21-22. At the Valley or brook of Eshcol, the men cut down a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. It was so huge that two men carried it on a pole between them, along with pomegranates and figs.

I have never seen such large grapes. What a fruitful land! Who would not enjoy having that in your backyard?


Walk by faith, not by sight.

Trust God to do what He says He will do.

Give Him the glory when He fulfills His promises.

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