February 28, 2021
Sermon notes February 28, 2021
In the last week, we have been reading through Numbers. We have seen some of the rituals the Israelites were to observe. We have seen the Nazarite vow – a special vow before God. We have seen offerings brought to God as people worship and honor God. We have begun to see the movement of the people following God in the cloud. Today’s reading in chapters 11-13 brings some disappointments due to the human element. God has been miraculously providing for the people and appearing to them, and they have experienced some of the most amazing displays of God’s presence. However, life is hard, and they complain. They get tired of the manna, and they complain. Aaron and Miriam get jealous of Moses, and they complain. God deals dramatically with each, but they continue to not trust God. Today’s reading ends in chapter 13, which is where we will focus this morning.
This is such a sad part of the Israelite history. God, who has freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea, fed millions, provided water for millions, and done so many miracles, brought the people through a battle victoriously, and is now promising the Israelites the land of Canaan to be theirs. Spies go in and all but two give a negative report. How could they do this? They knew and recognized Canaan was great, as God had promised (verse 27). Despite this promised future, they instead focus on four negative things.
- The problem posed by other people. Verse 28 says the people in Canaan are strong with large, fortified cities and verse 32 says the people were of great size. Is God greater than any person? Why do we fear people?
- The problem posed by weakness. Verse 31 shows they viewed themselves as weak. Apart from God, you are limited and weak, but this Promised Land was being given by God not earned by self.
- The problem of the natural state. Verse 32 indicates the spies’ concern that the land devoured its inhabitants. Again, God is promising this land to them in His sovereignty. Fear of nature can stop us even today. Look at how COVID-19 has crippled some with fear. Fear of storms weakens us. Fear of the way things are, may keep us from following God’s will.
- The fear of the ominous. Verse 33 references Nephilim or children of the sons of heaven and women. They were giants. These were mysterious beings that you and I do not have details about but clearly, their presence was an ominous, overwhelming, and impossible challenge. With God, nothing is impossible. Do not let the unbeatable stop you.
Be like Caleb. In verse 30, he was confident because of God. What obstacle is preventing you from experiencing God’s blessing? God has shown that He can overcome all things. Jesus demonstrated God’s power over people – think about all the times Jesus dealt with the Pharisees and revealed their errors or how Jesus knew the hearts of people. Jesus showed God’s power over weakness: He healed so many from weakened states, He chose the outcasts of society to be with Him, He embraced the children. Jesus’ miracles over nature by feeding the thousands and calming the storms. Jesus’ power over the ominous when he drove out demons from the possessed. And of course the great miracle of the resurrection! Jesus conquering death after three days in the grave He arose and lived! And as Christians God gives us the Holy Spirit to empower us, to encourage us, to enable us to do God’s work. You and I can have courage and face whatever life brings because we serve the Lord God Almighty, the risen Savior, and His Holy Spirit indwells us!