Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XII - Following God In Addressing Our Livelihood Shortages
(Numbers 13:1-14:39)
  1. Introduction
    1. As Jesus implied, every human being at times faces livelihood shortage needs, Matthew 6:31-32a.
    2. To a degree, we humans are responsible to do some things to meet these needs, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
    3. However, Israel was condemned in the wilderness for assuming God's role in HOW they faced their livelihood shortages in Numbers 13:1-14:39. We view that passage to learn where OUR responsibility ENDS and GOD'S responsibility BEGINS so as to be blessed of Him (as follows):
  2. Following God In Addressing Our Livelihood Shortages, Numbers 13:1-14:39.
    1. The people of Israel assumed the lead when it came to conquering the Promised Land's inhabitants:
      1. Numbers 13:1-2 informs us God sent out the 12 spies from Israel to spy out the Promised Land.
      2. Yet, Deut. 1:22 reveals it was the people who initiated the plan, Ryr. St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to Num. 13:2.
    2. Consequently, the people reaped the "whirlwind" of a loss of God's blessing, Numbers 13:3-14:39:
      1. The twelve spies sent to spy out the land (Num. 13:2-21) found it to be a wonderful land, 13:22-27.
      2. However, ten of the spies said its inhabitants were too great for Israel to defeat, Num. 13:28, 30-31.
      3. This upset the people, so Caleb sought to still them, claiming Israel could conquer the land, 13:30.
      4. Nevertheless, ten other spies (save Joshua, cf. Num. 13:8, 16) countered Joshua's report, stirring up the people to grief with their words that the inhabitants were too difficult for them to conquer, 13:31-14:1.
      5. This led the nation to murmur against Moses and Aaron, expressing the wish they had died in Egypt or the wilderness, and to their suggesting they set up a new leader to return to Egypt, Numbers 14:2-4.
      6. While Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in dismay, Joshua and Caleb rent their clothes in grief and tried to urge the people not to rebel faithlessly against trusting God to help them, Num. 14:5-9.
      7. Yet, the people considered stoning Joshua and Caleb to death, so the Lord's glory appeared in the tabernacle before the entire nation, Numbers 14:10. God then replied the people had ten times failed to trust Him, so He thought of doing the opposite of the people's wish to get a leader to return to Egypt: God proposed He destroy the people and build a new nation via Moses to enter the Land, 14:11f
      8. Importantly, the ten times Israel had failed God reflect the times she failed to FOLLOW God in dealing with livelihood shortage crises: (a) Israel failed when threatened with death by Egypt's armies at the Red Sea, Ex. 14:11-12; (b) she failed when threatened by drinking water shortages at Marah, Ex. 15:23-24; (c) she failed when threatened by a lack of food in the wilderness of Sin, Ex. 16:1-3; (d) when God gave her manna for food, she faithlessly hoarded it in Ex. 16:19-20 and (e) faithlessly failed to gather twice as much the day before the Sabbath fearing spoilage in Ex. 16:27f; (f) she failed re: water shortages again at Rephidim in Ex. 17:1-3; (g) she went into idolatry when Moses stayed "too long" on the Mount in Ex. 32:7-8; (h) she complained at Taberah so God judged some of them with fire in Num. 11:1-3; (i) the mixed multitude led a complaint against the "boring" manna in Num. 11:4-6 and (j) she complained about not being able to conquer the Land in Num. 14!
      9. Moses pleaded with God that if He destroyed Israel, the Gentiles would think God was unable to give His people the Promised land, negatively reflecting on God's reputation, Numbers 14:13-19.
      10. The Lord heard Moses' request and decided He would not immediately destroy the people, but bring on them their own faithless suggestion about dying in the wilderness: the whole faithless generation would die in the wilderness for repeatedly doubting He would meet their livelihood needs, 14:20-39a:
        1. God chose to preserve Joshua and Caleb for their faith (Num. 14:24, 38), but as the people had repeatedly doubted God's provisions (14:22), He would cause that generation slowly to die over 40 years of wilderness wanderings [1 year per day the spies spied out the Land], Num. 14:22-23, 25-35.
        2. Yet, God immediately killed the ten faithless spies for leading the nation in their unbelief, 14:36-37.
      11. When Moses announced this judgment, the nation greatly mourned in spiritual defeat, Numbers 14:39.
Lesson: (1) Israel often failed to FOLLOW God's LEAD to address livelihood needs and thus sinfully complained when facing livelihood CRISES she could not meet! (2) So, WE must FOLLOW God as our FIRST step in facing such needs, and HE will reveal HIS role FOR us to receive His provisions!