"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 15, 2022


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez, and James Fire

Complete Study of Numbers by pastor Chuck Smith

– by Albert Lopez, Not available on the Facebook video or on SHINE BRIGHT Church YouTube channel.

INTRODUCTION: Have you ever heard of a heist?
The definition of a heist: "to take unlawfully, especially in a robbery or holdup; steal: for example, to heist a million dollars' worth of jewels. to rob or hold up."
Have you ever seen an action movie about a heist, and you see at the start how this heist comes about? A couple things take place to get the ball rolling:
1st motivation - Usually money or something very valuable
2nd motivation - A plan for a group of people to carry out this work
3rd motivation - The right people with the right skills are given assignments to make this heist a reality.

Even with this there has to be confidence in the plan, the person or people that came up with the plan and the people carrying out the plan. The last thing is that a lot of the times there are unseen things that come up that the plan didn’t account for, and you have to be able to overcome those obstacles and then maybe the Heist is successful.

How do you start a heist? In a typical on-line game there is the following:
“Players must be rank 12 or above to set up a heist and must own a high-end apartment with a heist planning room. Once the player has reached the necessary level and purchased an appropriate apartment, Lester Crest will contact the player by text and follow up phone call introducing the heists concept.”
The only heist I want to be a part of is one where we go in and take all the souls possible from the Kingdom of darkness and return them to the Kingdom of Light through the power of the Holy Spirt.

I talked to you about a movie; but we are now going to read about a group of spies and not just any spies; they come from God’s people – from the tribes of God’s people. The Israelites were promised to possess or to take possession of Canaan. They were going to do this not by a heist but by a conquest of the land which had been ordered by none other than the owner of it all; God Himself. 

The order to conquer and take possession of the land of Canaan was given by God and that alone should have been enough; He had proven to the people that He is the most trustworthy Person. To put your trust in Him is to live securely and confidently. As we will find out however, the spies would be filled with unbelief, and overtaken by fear.
Listen to this commentary so we can get a better picture of what we are going to encounter in Numbers 13:

At Kadesh-Barnea, on the border of Canaan, the people of Israel foolishly forfeited their opportunity to enter the Promise Land and claim their inheritance. This tragic failure has made the name Kadesh a synonym for defeat and lost opportunity. Israel’s downfall at Kadesh is a reminder to us today that it’s a dangerous thing to trifle with the will of God. You may end up spending the rest of your life wandering around, just waiting to die.

Canaan is a place, but it’s also a picture of the inheritance God has planned for each of his children today, The work He wants us to do, and the places He wants us to occupy.
This is the way the Apostle Paul described it:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them
The Lord has a perfect plan for each of His Children, but we can only claim these blessings by faith and obedience.

Think about this church:

Like the people of Israel which we are reading about; many believers today walk by sight and not by faith. As a result, when this happens, we fail to enjoy the good things God has for us.
Remember back to Miriam she wanted the limelight instead of being content being in the light and the light dwelling in her. As a result of her pride, she got struck with leprosy; what she was on the inside was exposed on the outside. She could have enjoyed being used by God and glorify His name but her sight – which was very short sighted vision could only see that Moses had what she wanted. She had an opportunity to walk by faith knowing that a good and faithful God had appointed each one of them to the roles that He knew best would benefit the people and bring Him glory.

Let us say with King David:
Psalms 16:5-6
5 The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. 6 The measuring lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; Indeed, my inheritance is beautiful to me
God delivered His people from Egypt that they might enter the Promised Land and enjoy the blessing prepared for them. However, we will read that the people refused. Church, let us not refuse to enter where God calls us to go in our lives!

NUMBERS 13:1-3
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, everyone a leader among them." 3 So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel

Verse 1: The Lord spoke to Moses:
Here the Lord affirmed the people’s desire and commanded Moses to send them. This doesn’t mean that God was in agreement or approved of what the people had decided but He allowed it.

This reminds me of the time the people asked Samuel for a King to rule over them because all the other nations had a King ruling over them and they felt left out. (My words not the Bible). We read that Samuel did not agree with the people’s decision just like I believe that Moses didn’t agree with the people’s decision but listen to the respond the Lord gives to Samuel:

1 Samuel 8:7
And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people regarding all that they say to you, because they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them

I’m sure God did not agree with this decision either, but he allowed it and used it for good. Out of this came King Saul then King David, King Solomon and eventually we will have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Messiah King Jesus, the Son of David. Ironically the people wanted a king, even though they had the most powerful King all along!

It's the same with us Church; sometimes God may give us our way and we may suffer defeat and learn that His way is always the best.

Verse 2: “send out”

The book of Numbers says the Lord instructed Moses to send out the spies or scouts but:
Then we set out from Horeb and went through all that great and terrible wilderness that you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the LORD our God had commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is about to give us. 21 See, the LORD your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ 22 “Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let us send men ahead of us, so that they may spy out the land for us and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up, and the cities which we should enter.’ 23 The plan pleased me, and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe
This shows us that as with many Old Testament historical events, the human and the divine involvement go hand in hand. I’m sure there were people that trusted God and took Him at His Word but like they say in the world, “the majority rules” and I’m sure there was more doubters than believers who came to Moses asking for a ‘scouting mission’. Even though God allowed this, we need to remember that God Rules and Reigns no matter what!

Verse 2 cont'd: …so that they may spy out: (scout)

The mission of these spies “should they chose to accept it”: was to scout out the land. This was their first wavering step of doubt when they asked Moses to let them search out the land before the entire nation went up to engage the enemy in battle. They doubted God’s Word and began to walk by sight and not by faith. (and I will add emotions also as we will find out).
So how do we avoid falling into this sin of unbelief or doubt?
James 1:5-8
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways
Double-mindedness is doubting, hesitating, untrusting.

This reminds me of the story we read about in Mark 9 where a desperate father cries out to Jesus: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!

Just like the father cried out for his boy, so too Church we should cry out when we find ourselves in unbelief or doubt about what God has said or what God has called us to do. This can be in ministry, at home (to love your family), at work (to be a witness and a light) or anywhere God’s purpose takes you to.

NUMBERS 13:4-16
4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; 6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; 9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua

The list of scouts from the 12 tribes is said to introduce a different, presumably younger group from the elder leaders who had led in taking the military census in NUMBERS chapter 1. These spies had to be younger men who could endure the dangers involved in scouting the land. The list of these scouts contains a number of unusual names, rarely appearing again in the Old Testament, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.

Caleb and Joshua were the only members of the older generation which also includes Moses by the way, to enter the Promised Land. The rest of them died in the wilderness.
Joshua – (original name is Hoshea) which means “Salvation” or “desired salvation”.

Moses for reasons not made clear, changes his name to Joshua meaning, the Lord is salvation. This was the kind of name that would encourage the faith of a soldier and remind him that the Lord was fighting for him!

This made me think about how the name "Jesus" is the from Greek equivalent of Joshua or Y’shua and as the book of Matthew says: “You shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Just like Joshua reminded the Israelites that the Lord was their salvation. Jesus reminds us that He the Lord is our Salvation.

Verse 6: Caleb is from the tribe of Judah; the Lord will keep his promise He made to Judah, and through Caleb’s line the Messiah would come. Caleb was faithful in that he believed God; took him at his Word and was rewarded. Caleb along with Joshua is known for being the ones who believed and called the people to take the land that God had promised them and given them.

NUMBERS 13:17-24
17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, 18 "and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; 19 "whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; 20 "whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. 21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath. 22 And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. 24 The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there.The spies were to determine the nature of the land itself, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the people

The 12 spies traveled about 500 miles during the 40 days of their scouting of Canaan but get this: But they discovered nothing that God hadn’t already told them!

Examples: They already knew that names of the pagan nations that lived in the land (Genesis 15:18-21). They knew it was a good land (Exodus 3:8). A rich land flowing with milk and honey we read in Exodus 3:8,17. If you think about it the people could have saved themselves and their feet a lot of pain!

The same thing can be said about us at times. If we just trust and obey God at what He has called us to do instead of questioning Him and His way we can avoid a lot of –maybe not foot pain – but a lot of headaches and heart-aches. The plan that God had for them was plain and simple to follow:

Go up and take the land. Instead, the people started to question things like:
I don’t think God thought about the inhabitants of the land. What if God thinks the land can produce but it really can’t? God say it’s flowing with milk and honey but what else is it flowing with or not flowing with? If we are honest, they probably were thinking about Egypt and how they wanted to go back.

This serves as a warning to us:

God has told us already beforehand that if you are a child of God; God has justified you and we are currently in the sanctification process right now. We will be there until the day of Christ’s return. So let us not try to skip over sanctification to glorification. The sanctification process sometimes will place us in uncomfortable situations in our lives because God is making us more Christ-like and the flesh does not like that!

He has promised us that in this world we will have tribulation but be of good courage, Jesus has overcome the world and anything it throws at us. As a result, as it says in the first part of that verse that “in Me you may have peace” (JN 16:33). Another promise of the Peace of God with us as we learn to obey and take God at His Word (PHIL 4:9).

NUMBERS 13:25-33
25 And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. 26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan." 30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." 31 But 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." 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight

Speaking of obedience, or in this case disobedience, Moses gave clear and explicit instructions, yet their report had mixed results. On top of the clear instructions, he also gave them questions for the men to answer on their return from the scouting mission. But there is no statement that they did what was asked, nor did the men address all the questions Moses posed. The account or report they gave was reported in a different order from that which Moses gave them, and they often gave additional information on items that they were not asked to research.

Example: They were to see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak.

They completed the task but added their description of the size of the inhabitants. They seem to linger on this fact because another task was to see how are the cities in which they live: Are they like open camps or with fortifications? Yes, they answered this but they mentioned the size and names of inhabitants.

All the people needed to do was take God at his Word and not lean on their own understanding of the situation. This was not the case with these people who got spiritual Alzheimer’s and as a result trusted in their own assessment of the situation. They didn’t apply the truth of GOD’s Word as found in PROV 3:5-6!

We need to see that just like these people fell into unbelief we too can fall into unbelief. Instead of having spiritual Alzheimer’s we should have a continual remembrance of God’s goodness when we are tempted by any situation that would cause us to question God’s plan and ways.

There will always be a temptation to doubt God and not take him at His Word:

Verse 28: “Nevertheless…the people who live in the land are strong”.
Verse 31: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”

We need to be careful and aware of what goes into our mind, our heart and our ears because a lot of the time it determines what comes out of our mouth. We are either going to find ourselves having the confidence and courage of Joshua and Caleb or the fear and cowardice of the ten other spies.

On one hand you have the ten spies who identified Canaan as the land to which you sent us. (verse 27). And the land through which we have gone. (verse 32). They failed to identify it as the Land the Lord our God has given us. Why? We return to this thought: These men were walking by sight and not by faith. They didn’t really believe God’s promises. Here is where their natural eyes didn’t allow them to see with eyes of faith:

They looked at the people of the land and saw giants.
They looked at the cities and saw high walls and locked gates.
They looked at themselves and saw grasshoppers.
The scouting of the land may have been a good idea from a military point of view, but not from a spiritual point of view. If only they had looked by faith to God!

Nevertheless, there were two that looked to God! Caleb and Joshua.

Verse 30: Then Caleb quieted the people: He not only quieted the people to shut them up, but he pointed out what their unbelief didn’t allow them to see:

Caleb recognized the words of unbelief as he spoke up against what the ten spies were saying and gave his motivational challenge to take possession of what God had promised, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

Caleb was confident that victory was his, not because of anything he could do but because of what God had already done for him; all he was asked to do was to walk in that victory! Will you walk in that victory, Church: the victory that we can only have through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit?
Joshua experienced the power of God’s Word in person when the LORD spoke to him: we read about this in:

But the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have handed Jericho over to you, with its king and the valiant warriors
… and in verse 20:
So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, everyone straight ahead, and they took the city.

Both Caleb and Joshua remembered that back in Numbers 10, the Lord promised that He would go before them and scatter His enemies! God is a God of His Word, Church! Do you believe this?

This whole chapter and the book of NUMBERS as a whole come down to this question:
Are we counted along with the two spies who took God at His Word or the ten spies who let their physical eyes and their own understanding dictate how their feet moved?

Two statements:
“We should by all means go up and take the land” or “We are not able to go up against the people”. Both of these statements have a motivation behind it:
“For we will surely overcome it” or “For they are too strong for us”.

The first statement screams “Our God is able” and it’s the affirmation of faith!
The second statement: “We are not able” is the cry of unbelief!
Unbelief is serious because it challenges the character of God (MATT 17:17; HEB 3:7-12) and rebels against the will of God. Moses reminded the people of what God had already done for them, but they wouldn’t stop complaining!

The question is: Are we complaining or singing praises as we march on to whatever God has called us to? We may not be called to take the land, but we are called to conduct spiritual warfare knowing that we need to war against any sin that prevents us from being more Christ-like!

Such sins like Pride, Envy, Lust, Lovelessness that may seem too intimidating for us alone but through the power of the Holy Spirit it can be overtaken, and we will walk in victory!

Listen to what John Gardner a politician said about the political arena, which can be applied to the spiritual arena and the Christian’s walk of faith:
“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems”.
Spiritually speaking that would translate into: A faith that can’t be tested is a faith that can’t be trusted! and God tests our faith to help us make sure it’s genuine and to help it grow.
1 PETER 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls
The Israelites were on their way to the Promised land that was flowing with milk and honey; the born-again children of God are promised a New heaven and New earth that is flowing with Righteousness and Peace. The spies who went to scout the land got so focused on the height and strength of the inhabitants, that they forgot about the strength of their All-mighty God that went before them!

I pray that we are found taking God at His word and that unbelief does not overtake any of us like it did many who did not get to enter the land. Instead, let us be found in the place where our faith is tested and we remember that we are more than conquerors through Jesus our Lord and take up the land by His strength. Amen!

No comments: