Spies...an interesting term...denotes intrigue. However, in the Eleventh
Chapter of the Book of Numbers, a lesson concerning them unfolds. The Jewish
nation had experienced several miraculous events:
-- Deliverance from their Egyptian Taskmaster.
-- Walking on dry ground through the Red Sea.
-- Being led through the desert and feed with manna from heaven.
-- Receiving the Decalogue and instruction in the Law.
-- Marching right up to the river Jordan and...
...then unfolds the story beginning in the 11th chapter of Numbers.
Oddly enough, or maybe not, is that this story is echoed in part in
Hebrews 4:1-11, by Paul. Though the spies themselves are not mentioned, the
cause and outcome of this story are spoken of in detail. It is interesting
that, in the passage in the book of Hebrews, the word rest occurs eleven times.
Also, referrence is made to a passage in Psalms in which the word "rest"
replaces, or is substituted for, "the land" (meaning Cannan).
An interesting point can be made here. David, in this Psalm, is exhorting
the people to not harden their hearts and evidently pointing them to the same
heart-rest that Paul is pointing to in Hebrews. Both speak of "TODAY". For
them to be exhorting their people to enter God's rest, which many hold can only
be obtained in heaven, they would have to have been exhorting them to commit
suicide to obtain it.
In reading the first verse of Numbers 13:1, one might get the idea that the
sending out of the spies was entirely that of the Lord. This is not the case.
In Duet 1:21,22 the following words are recorded:
"Behold, the Lord thy God has set the land before thee: go up and
possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; FEAR
NOT, NEITHER BE DISCOURAGED. And you came near unto me every one of
you, and said, We will send men before us and they shall search out
the land and bring us word again by what way we must go up and into
what cities we shall come. And the saying pleased me well: and I took
twelve men of you, one a tribe."
Here we see the gross error of the Jewish nation...sending out spies. If
they had taken God at His word, had trusted God wholly, the events which came
would have been considerably different. God had told them of the goodness of
the land, that His presence would go before them to drive out their enemies, if
only they would be obedient and go forward.
The spies returned confirming the condition of the land but giving an evil
report about the ability of the Jewish nation to conquer their foes. The
results of these reports, verified by all but two of the spies, brought havoc
and unbelief to the camp.
Today, unfortunately, the same thing is happening to many Christians.
-- Been delivered for their task-master, "sin".
-- They have experienced many blessings at the hand of the Lord.
But when the subject of total commitment comes up, the same two questions
which confronted the Nation of Israel come up. "Is this blessing really worth
the price?" and "Is God able to conquer through our efforts?" Just as they
did, the modern Christian, too, must send out spies to see if God is indeed
powerful enough to perform the blessings of a sinless life and perfect love
which are the result of this commitment. These spies, too, have names...
Philosophy, Speculation, Investigation, Caution, Hesitation, Uncertainty and
Distrust. These spies, to, confirm the goodness of the blessing but also raise
many great questions which produce disobedience and rebellion in the believer.
It doesn't take a lot to quote what is said or what the report will say...
-- There are no perfectly holy men this side of death.
-- There is no sign of the perfect love spoken of in John 17
this side of death.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take a lot to instill these thoughts in a believer.
The uncleansed heart backs away from the words "sanctify you wholly, cleansing
from all sin" and raises all kinds of doctrinal, scriptural, and practical
objections. All of this soon fans the sparks of doubt into a fire of unbelief
which devours faith.
The real danger of all of this is brought out by the numbers involved in
the first occurrence. There were approximately one million adults that left
Egypt, but only two made it across the river. In looking at the weak and
defeated in the Christian group today, it is not hard to see that the ratio
has not improved to anywhere like what it should be. It is wise to hear the
words of Paul:
"Today if you hear His voice, Harden not your hearts"
< Author Unknown >