June 27, 2019

Close to the Finish Line

Numbers 13:1–24

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Spies Sent into Canaan

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” 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 people of Israel. And these were their names: From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; 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 were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.

17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it 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 to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol,1 because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there.


[1] 13:24 Eshcol means cluster

Close to the Finish Line

Key Verse | Numbers 13:1-2

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them."

Bio | Benjamin George

Ever notice that guy at church who's always hanging around after service is over, trying to talk to you, creating an obstacle as you're heading for lunch? That'd be me. Sorry! I'm Benjamin George.

I love Jesus and am privileged to serve in Equipped Disciple, one of Watermark's discipleship training programs. Shameless plug—do Equipped Disciple if you haven't already. You'll grow in your love for God and His Word!

I'm also married. Her name is Riya, and she's amazing. She loves Jesus, and I'm beyond thankful to God for having her in my life.

Central Truth

When our focus is on God, our perspective changes from fear to faith, and our problems, big as they might be, appear small in light of the God of eternity.

Devotional | Numbers 13:1–24

I was 10 years old, and I was racing against my older brother. The first one to finish a lap before the other was the winner. I typically lost against my brother, but in my bones, I knew today was different. I was...

I was 10 years old, and I was racing against my older brother. The first one to finish a lap before the other was the winner. I typically lost against my brother, but in my bones, I knew today was different. I was leading in the race and so excited to finally beat him. As I was coming close to the finish line, I looked back. I wanted to see my brother's face and where he was. As I was looking back, I didn't see that the concrete ahead of me was uneven. My foot slipped, and I face-planted. I completely lost.

In Numbers 13, the Israelites were so close to the finish line, the Promised Land. In a crucial moment, instead of looking at God, they looked at the giants ahead of them and allowed fear to take control. They looked the wrong way!

The Israelites had been waiting since Egypt for their moment. They sent spies to evaluate the land, so they could devise a battle plan to conquer it. As you will read tomorrow, the spies returned with a mixed report. The majority consensus was, "Don't go." Yet, Caleb, one of the spies, came to the exact opposite conclusion Read tomorrow's passage and devotional to find out what Caleb saw and to consider why Caleb saw things differently.

Here's a teaser. While the other spies fixated on the challenges, it was Caleb who focused on God. His view of his enemies was relative to his view of God and that made all the difference. It doesn't matter who your enemies are when God is on your side.

Face-planting can be avoided when you look the right way. Instead of fixating on your problems, focus on God, who is bigger than any problem.

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Discussion Questions

1. Where are you not trusting God in your life?

2. Share in the comments about a time when you experienced God's faithfulness in your life.

3. What change can you make this week to focus more on God?

13 Comments available

molly allish 11 months ago

My anger this week had risen out of control. I sat down with God and he revealed to me the anger was rooted in shame. I hadn’t been willing to see the log in my own eye, but was quick to judge others for the speck in theirs. God faithfully and graciously led me through some self discovery to truly begin healing from my past.

Jennifer Kling 11 months ago

My husband has a career with an incredibly unpredictable schedule. And when he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid. So if a job gets cancelled last minute, no pay. If we want to go on a trip, no pay. If there’s a family event or a wedding or a funeral, we have to calculate both the cost of travel and the cost of lost income. However, with all that being said, God has consistently and graciously provided over and over for our entire marriage. It has caused us to completely live on faith that our family will be provided for each month.

Tonni Shook 11 months ago

Great devo! My son-in-love is Caleb, his sister is Miriam, & their older brother is Jacob. I love that they were named from these early OT books.

I am watching God’s faithfulness every day, honestly. It’s a good season right now, with a new grandbaby, a new Community Group, & great health/career. God has blessed me beyond what I deserve, but I am so thankful for His greatness.

Jay Caruso 11 months ago

Thanks Benjamin for your devo The change I want to make this week is be more focused on GODS word and believe he has me and and know I can not do it without him and be consistent. Also do not move ahead with out clear and godly direction. Know that what he has for me is sufficient

Tommy Burnette 11 months ago

When I got to the point where I thought that my pornography addiction was just who I was and there was nothing to change that, God showed me His faithfulness by reminding me that His Spirit was in me and I just needed to rely on Him. Next thing I knew, I was sober 24 hours at a time.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

It was God who told Israel to send the spies knowing what would happen.

Sometimes perhaps God has a bigger picture that might involve man’s weaknesses and testing.

Ishmael Moody 11 months ago

The last 6 months God has shown his faithfulness in the area of my finances. I use to stress about money and God has shown me that my dependence is on Him and Him alone. Thru the rough spots God has provided in ways I didn’t create or predict.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Also an interesting timing God picked. “Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” The spies brought grapes carried by two men on a pole and it was probably an impressive sight.

The clusters can grow pretty large and here is one grown by Palestinians https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f7/cd/09/f7cd09055d60b1b507628b64c4d2d380.jpg

Kelly Nix 11 months ago

Good morning Ben great to see you here today! Thanks for being one who fixes their eyes on obedience to the Word (the big fruit) when giants try to distract those on the journey with you!

Scott Jones 11 months ago

Well said, Benjamin (“son of my right hand”). Looking back, I can see that the biggest face plants of my life happened when I was not looking at God. Thanks for the reminder.

Joseph Allish 11 months ago

Even in the little things he’s faithful. My wife and I are expecting our 1st child (Harley Vonn). We received many gifts already. We went through our registry and found we were missing a breast pump and baby gate. The next day we went to dirt cheap, where we found both brand new for half off. He is so faithful.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Hi Benjamin! Love your statement, “Face-planting can be avoided when you look the right way.” Not only forward-facing, but focused on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) by staying in His Word, reminded ourselves of what is true, especially His promises. That’s what Joshua and Caleb did, and it worked out really well for them!

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

GM Benjamin. LOVE your Central Truth. From fear to faith.

2 Timothy 3:16 - God makes promises. Lots of them. He gives me tribes of people to walk with me to see Him deliver, just like He promised. Living into His promises requires walking by faith and not by sight, (Wiersbe).

We’ll do the easy parts but when Satan sends giants, we’ll need to rely on Him so that we can have “…bold obedience with strong confidence in God” to execute His “…campaign of conquest of the land”, (Constable).

The spies traveled hundreds of miles to inspect the land. What they found was that everything God told them was true.

It will be hardest for me to trust Him when the battle gets toughest. The bullets will fly, and the bombs will drop. May I remember that as the battles rages on the war is already won, (Matt Maher).

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