[Read Numbers 13:26 – 14:2]

(Vs. 26-29) The recounting of the 12 starts out great. The land is “flowing with milk and honey” The problem is the “except that” or “but”. This conjunction annuls everything before it in the report. The word “fortified” means “inaccessible;” to whom was it inaccessible? Who were they looking at? Who were they not? What is not mentioned in the story? Hebron was a city that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all familiar with. It is the place they were buried. Why is there no mention of visiting the grave of their forefathers?

(Vs. 30) Caleb tries to share faith and Adonai’s perspective into the mix, and for this statement he is promised by Adonai that he will enter the land.

(Vs. 31-33) “But” there is that word again. But the other 10 would have nothing to do with this so they “spread a bad report”. Their story starts to exaggerate as they spread their evil report, “the land … devours its residents. All … are men of great size! We also saw there the Nephilim.” [1] We seemed like grasshoppers in our eyes … as well as theirs. Who were they looking at?

(Ch. 14:1-4) The people were more willing to believe the bad news rather than trust Adonai. Look at what they cried out for. Remember be careful what you ask Adonai for. Thus, this generation became known as “The Grumblers of Israel.” [2] The frightening words of the faithless agents led to the mourning of the entire community and to their great rebellion against the Lord. They forgot all the miracles the Lord had done for them; they condemned His mercies and spurned his might. In their ingratitude they preferred death, and unfortunately, it was death they deserved and death they were to get. [3]

Why do you think Moses and Aaron fell on their faces? Look at Caleb’s cry to the people. [vs. 8-9] If Adonai is pleased with us” is the only condition for achieving victory. This is the ultimate statement that faithfulness to the graciousness of Adonai is all that is required. There are two changes that were required in the people: firstly to cease from their rebellion, and secondly to stop fearing the people of the land. The same is true for us.

(Vs. 10-12) “But” the people would not relent, and now when Adonai appeared it was only to Moses that he spoke. Adonai is so angry that the people were holding Him in contempt, that He is ready and willing to destroy the entire nation, except for the faithful. Do we believe that Adonai does not change (Mal. 3:6)? “Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

(Vs. 13-19) But the people had an intercessor! Moses, who had just been threatened by stoning, now pleads with Adonai that He would not wipe the people out. Moses was more concerned with Adonai’s perceived reputation before the unbelievers than he was his own pride and destiny. We have an Intercessor with the Father—the righteous Messiah Yeshua” (1 John 2:1) who is more concerned for us then himself, who “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (Heb. 12:2). How thankful and joyful should we be? How great is Adonai’s lovingkindness!!

(Vs. 26-30) In these verses, Adonai grants the Israelites their “request” in direct response for their complaining. Every one 20 years and older would die in the wilderness (as they requested), and year-for-day they would wander until the next generation is ready to enter. (Matt 12:36) Yeshua says that we will give an account for every careless word we have spoken, and that our words will either acquit us or condemn us.

So what should our/ my response be? The author of Hebrews says this (Heb. 12:1-)

  • Lay aside every weight and sin.
  • Run with endurance the race set before us.
  • Set our eyes on Yeshua.
  • Consider Yeshua, or else we will become weary and discouraged.
  • Adonai’s chastening means we are loved, and are children of God (chastening: training/punishment; refers to a child under development with strict training).
  • Adonai’s chastening produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness (but only if we are trained by it)

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Ronald Allen, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed., Vol 2, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2008. Pg. 216-233.

[3] ibid. Pg. 220-221.