Testing Times: Stop!

Sermon notes from this morning – really good, and excellent service (lots of Psalm-singing). Really useful as well, as we are just beginning to study Judges in Central Focus, and so it was helpful to go back a little in Israel’s history and understand the ‘backstory’.

This is about coming so close, but being so far from glory. About the agony of loss. About the rewards of perserverance for those who never stop believing. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Numbers 13-14

Research (13:1-33)
Gathering Intelligence
Spies are sent out into Canaan to gather intelligence. They report back that it is a land of milk and honey – BUT – the people are strong, the cities fortified and large.

Minority Report – Caleb reports back and is v.positive – ‘we should go up at once! we are well able etc.’

Majority Report – the other spies persuade the people that they are not able. The people of Canaan are stronger. Spin the news – v32b – land devours its inhabitants, ‘we are like grasshoppers’.

Response (14:1-10)
The people panic
Focussing on God’s enemies, rather than God’s power.
The faithful preach
Do not rebel, do not fear – ‘they are bread for us’ – ‘their protection is removed’.
Danger of making people big and God small

We are so often immobilised in our spiritual lives due to fear of what pressing on with Jesus might mean (oh, so very true).

Reaction (14:11-38)
Disinheritance threatened
God would disinherit – look back – only Joshua and Caleb remain from the generations in the wilderness who refused to go in.
Prayer for God’s glory
v17 – appeal to God’s character as revealed in Exodus 34.
Moses recognises that God must be just.
The final straw
All the grumblers – vv36-37. 10 spies die (the majority report). v29 – all your numbernumber who have grumbled against me will die in the wilderness. Look back at Numbers 1 – a great nation then – all died in the wilderness.
The faithful few

Today if you hear his voice ….

No loss is so gut-wrenching or permanent as losingout on heaven. Do not surrender to the flesh and devil.