Bahan Alkitab: Numbers 13 – 14
Lesson focus: God may punish us when we disobey Him, but He promises to forgive us and be faithful to us.
GOD led His people to the border of Canaan, the land He promised to them. GOD commanded Moses to send out 12 leaders to explore the land. Moses sent 12 spies, 1 from each tribe. Moses asked them to check:
1. Explore/check the land
2. People: strong/weak; many/few?
3. They have walls/not?
4. Soil: fertile or poor?
5. Bring back some fruits from the land
They explored the land for 40 days then they came back. They carried a huge bunch of delicious grapes, sweet figs, pomegranates. When they came back, everyone crowded around the spies. They wanted to hear & see what they got.
They said: the land is beautiful and rich. Here are some of its delicious fruits. It flows with milk and honey. BUT we will never get the land, the people there are stronger and are as big as giants, we are like grasshoppers compared to them. The cities are large and have thick and high walls around them.
Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua spoke up: Listen!!! We should go and take the land. We CAN CERTAINLY do it! Joshua & Caleb believed in The LORD’s promise and trusted that God would keep His promise!
But the Israel people didn’t want to listen to both of them but believed in the ten spies. They started to cry & grumble as usual. Some of them wanted to go back to Egypt, some wished that they had died in the desert.
Why they did not want to believe Joshua & Caleb and God’s promise? We are also like them, who always like to compare with our past: last time was nicer, last time was better, we don’t want to accept challenges or hard work or do a harder thing. They thought the promised-land, Canaan, with beautiful land, which has much milk and honey, nice fruits, GOD would just give them everything without the need to fight the people there. They forgot how GOD had always guided them, taken care of them, how GOD gave them food and water in amazing ways! The plague GOD sent to Egyptians, what happened at the Red Sea. They have forgotten all GOD’s amazing power! Now they only see that the problem is bigger than GOD! They need to trust in HIM and HE will fight for them!
They wanted to kill or stoned Joshua and Caleb! But the glory of GOD appeared at the tent of meeting and God spoke to Moses: I am ready to destroy the people who would not trust Him! Moses prayed and asked for HIS mercy, forgive their sins as YOU have forgiven them since they left Egypt till now.
The LORD forgave them but HE still punished them and still kept HIS promise to be faithful to them!
What was GOD’s punishment to them? They need to go back to the hot and dry desert for 40 years until all the grown-ups died and would not enter the promised land! They were supposed to enter the land soon but now they were punished to live in the desert for 40 years!
Only Joshua & Caleb and their descendants could enter the promised-land and GOD would FAITHFULLY lead HIS people just as HE promised! Joshua and Caleb listened and believed in God’s promise!
We are like the Israel people who always rebel and do not trust Him! Even when sometimes we doubt God’s goodness, GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! We are undeserving of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness! GOD sent HIS own SON to die for us so that we could be forgiven and be called His children!
• Caleb and Joshua believed in God’s promise so only them and their descendants could enter the promised land. They believed that God is bigger than all the difficulties in front of them. They believed that God would fight for and help them.
• GOD will forgive us if we sin, BUT He will surely still punish us for all our sins!
• God kept His promise – by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so those who believe in Him, are saved and forgiven.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.