December 20, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
We are considering Winners Or Whiners? from Numbers 13:30 through 33:
…Caleb quieted the people…and said, “Let us go up at once and take pos-
session, [of Canaan] for we are well able to overcome it.” 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….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. There we saw the giants (the descendants of
Anak…); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were
in their sight.”
As said in the last blog: Ten of the spies sent out by Moses were Whiners! Only two were Winners! The Whiners prevailed and, as a result, Israel spent another 38 years in the Sinai desert! We first looked at the Whiners, and here is a quick review:
• Speaking about the majority of the Israelites (including the ten negative spies – the Whiners, Hebrews 4:2 (Good News Bible) says, “They heard the message, but it did them no good, because when they heard it, they did not accept it with faith.” And it is only “…by grace you have been saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8).
• The nature of their whining was that they were depending on their own perception of things, and not on God’s promises! We are clearly told in II Corinthians 5:7, “…we walk by faith, not by sight.” Faith often stands opposed to how we perceive things by our five senses! Yes, the Canaanite adversaries were strong (see Numbers 13:28, 29), but the LORD was (and is) stronger!
And so, according to Numbers 13:31 the ten whining spies came to this conclusion: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
• Numbers 13:32 – “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….’ ”
✡ Devours its inhabitants? That sounds like Canaan land was a place where they could not even eke out an existence! God had five times previously described Canaan as “…a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8; 3:13; 13:5; 33:3; Leviticus 20:24 – see also Deuteronomy 8:7-10). And there they were standing with a bunch of grapes so large that two men had to carry it between them on a pole! (See Numbers 13:23).
✡ These ten had just told the Israelite that the Promised Land was filled with formidable foes (see Numbers 13:28, 29), as described in the last blog. But now they had to bolster their argument with negative reasoning to make their point!
Isn’t that usually the case when we don’t want to follow a plan with which we disagree? We not only point out the obvious drawbacks, we invent and add ultra-negative interpretations to support our position! Be very careful not to do that when God is leading in a certain direction – even if it seems to be a difficult direction! As someone has said, “What God decides, He also provides!” And, “When God leads, He supplies the needs! ”
• Numbers 13:32, 33 – “…and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants)….”
✡ We discussed descendants of Anak in the last blog: “…they are said by a number of Bible scholars to be descended from the Nephilim – the offspring of fallen angels and human women!”
✡ What about the ten spies’ perception of giants? They reported, all the people are giants! All the people? And were there really giants in the land? Consider what is written in Joshua 11:21 and 22:
And at that time Joshua came and cut off the Anakim from the mountains:
from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah,
and…Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. None of the
Anakim were left in…Israel. They remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in
So apparently there were men of great stature, giants in the land – later destroyed by Joshua. But it is interesting: There were some left in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. This is Philistine territory! And who, of the Philistines, later confronted and challenged Israel’s army? Goliath of Gath! (See I Samuel 17:4-10). He was a giant, described as being “…six cubits and a span.” (I Samuel 17:4). He was about 9 feet, 8 inches tall!
Let’s think about Goliath for a moment. What did the Israelites think about him, and how did they perceive the rest of the Philistine army? I can just hear them saying, “Wow! He’s one big dude! Those Philistines must have a bunch of those big guys in their army!” Well, apparently they did have a total of five, because Goliath had four brothers! (See II Samuel 21:18-22). That’s probably why “…David…chose five smooth stones from the brook…” (I Samuel 17:39 and 40) – one for each of the five giant brothers!
I do not believe that all of the inhabitants of Canaan were giants. But the ten spies saw some, and they transposed that description upon all the native population!
Be careful! The perception of people, including yourself, may be quite different from the facts! Ask God to give you a clear interpretation of the facts before you start spreading rumors! It can be the difference between victory and defeat – between obeying the LORD and disobedience!
We need another blog just to analyze the negative results of the ten Whiners!