September 11-15


"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.” – Numbers 13:30 (ESV)

Faith Believes God
Hannah Hurnard, author of "Hinds' Feet on High Places," was once paralyzed by fear. Then she heard a sermon on scarecrows that challenged her to turn her fear to faith: The preacher said, "A wise bird knows that a scarecrow is simply an advertisement. It announces that some very juicy and delicious fruit is to be had for the picking. There are scarecrows in all the best gardens… If I am wise, I too shall treat the scarecrow as though it were an invitation. Every giant in the way that makes me feel like a grasshopper is only a scarecrow beckoning me to God's richest blessings." He concluded, "Faith is a bird which loves to perch on scarecrows. All our fears are groundless." (Our Daily Bread)

In Numbers 13, the twelve spies traveled about 500 miles during the forty days of their survey of Canaan, but they discovered nothing that God hadn’t already told them. Caleb was an old man but had faith in God that they could go in and possess the land. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith they could take the land! The Israeli spies saw giants, but Joshua and Caleb saw God!

What are some of the scarecrows in your life? Pastor Jim reminded us that life is a tension of faith and fear. How are your scarecrows an opportunity to strengthen your faith?

Praise God for always being there when you face problems. Praise God for being bigger than the problems you face. Ask God to help you focus on Him and not on your problems.


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.” – Numbers 13:31-32 (ESV)

Fear Doubts God
A large, two-engined train was making its way across America. While crossing the Western mountains, one of the engines broke down. “No problem, we can make it to Denver and get a replacement engine there,” the engineer thought and carried on at half power. Farther on down the line the other engine broke down, and the train came to a standstill in the middle of nowhere.

The engineer needed to inform the passengers about why the train had stopped, and always trying to look on the bright side of things, made the following announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time until the additional engines arrive. The good news is that you didn’t take this trip on a plane!” (source unknown)

The other ten spies brought a “bad report” to God’s people. The bad report of the faithless ten was not just a bad report about the land but was a bad report about God. These men are the same ones who had seen Jehovah defeat the Egyptian army by drowning them in the Red Sea. They saw Joshua lead Israel to victory over the Amalekites with the help of Jehovah. But, they focus on the problem, not the Problem Solver. Unbelief always sees the obstacles. Faith always sees the opportunities. Yes, the giants were great, but God was greater.

How could they so easily forget the way God led them through the wilderness? How easy is it for you to forget how God has led you in the past? How does the promise of Hebrews 13:5 that God will never leave us or forsake us help combat your fear?

Praise God for the ways He has led you in the past so can trust Him with your future. Ask God to help you remember His good news when you are dealing with life’s bad news.


But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. – Numbers 14:24 (ESV)

Faith Builds Up But Fear Tears Down
A man once walked by a building site and saw three stone masons side by side, sweating over their work in the hot sun. He asked the first, "What are you doing?" "Laying bricks" came the reply. He asked the second stone mason, "And what are you doing?" "Building a wall." came the reply. Then he asked the third mason, "And what is it you are doing?" "I am raising a great cathedral."

Faith is God’s building bricks. God said Caleb, “has a different spirit.” In context, his spirit was different than the 10 spies, but also different than the two million! Caleb had a "one in a million" spirit. Caleb also had a heart that was fully committed to God. As a result, Caleb would be allowed to move into the Promised Land and build a future for his family.

Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” How is this verse proven true in Numbers 13-14? How has this verse proven true in your life?

Praise God for bringing you to the place spiritually where you are now. Ask God to show you any parts of your heart that aren’t “fully” His.


Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. – Numbers 14:28-30 (ESV)

Fear Brings Death
I once heard of an agnostic farmer who wrote to the editor of his local newspaper, who was a Christian. He said; “In defiance of your God I plowed my fields this year on Sunday, I disked and fertilized them on Sunday, I planted them on a Sunday, I cultivated them on Sunday, and I reaped them on Sunday. This October I had the biggest crop I have ever had. How do you explain  that?"  The editor replied: “God does not always settle his accounts in October.” (Lou Nicholes)

The irony is that Israel had feared falling dead at the hands of their enemies but now will fall dead at the hand of God, Who in a sense is now their "Enemy," for they have repeatedly spurned and rejected His kindnesses and covenant promises. The people of Israel brought upon themselves their punishment when they declared that they would rather die in the wilderness.

Brian Bell writes "Faith leads to obedience and glorifies God; unbelief leads to rebellion and death. Why wander in unbelief when we can walk in victory?  Did you ever think grumbling could have such drastic results? Why does God take grumbling so personally?

Thank God for offering you the gift of mercy and not giving you the punishment you have deserved in the past. Ask God to help you not be guilty of complaining.


Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive. – Numbers 14:38 (ESV)

Faith Brings Life
Wise Words from Warren Wiersbe in conclusion - The entire experience teaches us that there is no substitute for faith in God’s promises and obedience to His commandments. Faith is simply obeying God in spite of how we feel, what we see, or what we think might happen. When God’s people trust and obey, the Lord delights in doing wonders for them, because they glorify His name. The agnostic American newspaper editor Henry L. Mencken defined faith as “an illogical belief in the occurrence of the impossible.” Mark Twain wrote that faith was “believing what you know ain’t so.” Both were wrong. Evangelist D.L. Moody said that “real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.” It’s taking God at His Word and proving it by obeying what He tells us to do. (Be Counted)

Joshua and Caleb had the faith to rely on God’s strength. Their faith moved them to be obedient to the Word of God. The result of their faith and obedience was the gift of life. Everyone else around them doubted and lost their life.

Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” How do we see this promise played out in Numbers 14? How can you apply this verse to your life today?

Thank God for wanting to give you abundant life. Ask God to protect you against the lies and destruction of the enemy.