Today’s Readings: Numbers 13-14
Faith and Facts
On the brink of entering Canaan, Moses sent spies to do some reconnaissance about its land and people . After forty days, even though the spies returned with a unified report – that the land was abundant and its inhabitants were formidable – their action plan was divided: Joshua and Caleb wanted to enter Canaan because they trusted God’s promise to give it to them , but the rest wanted to stay put because they feared its inhabitants . Unfortunately, the fearful spies won the people’s hearts: “That night all the members of the community … wept aloud … [and] grumbled … ‘If only we had died in Egypt! … Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?” 
Patience and Punishment
God had enough: “How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?”  Yet, just as He was about to strike them, Moses begged Him to uphold His reputation and “great love” by forgiving their rebellion again . Although God relented and pardoned them, He did not let them off the hook. He forced them to wander in the wilderness for forty years and prohibited that generation – except Joshua and Caleb, who believed God “wholeheartedly”  – from ever entering Canaan. Immediately, the faithless spies died and the people mourned. Upon seeing and hearing the consequences of their actions, they tried to reassert their faith, but their regret was too late and too shallow. Presumptuously, they tried to fight the inhabitants without their leader or God’s presence and, as Moses warned, they were driven out.
Prayer and Petition
Lord, Thank You for the recording the account of Your people in the wilderness. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, what happened to them “occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things” . You long for us to trust in Your promises more than we trust in what we see. Yet, although we – as Christians – who should have the most beautiful and faithful hearts in the world – often have unattractive and faithless hearts when we complain and grumble about our lives. Help us to remember Your past provisions so that we are propelled to faith in our present and future circumstances – for just as You were faithful yesterday, You will be faithful tomorrow. Amen.
 Numbers 13:17-20 |  Numbers 14:7-9. See also Numbers 13:30 NIV 2011 (Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”) |  Numbers 13:31 |  Numbers 14:1-3 NIV 2011 |  Numbers 14:11 NIV 2011 |  Numbers 14:13-19 |  Numbers 14:24 NIV 2011 |  See 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 NIV 2011