• Word Of Life Church

"NO FEAR" Part 8

—Sunday Sermon—

Standing Firm

-12 Spies

I heard an illustration about a group of 

passengers on a plane.

They boarded. 

They found their seats. 

They settled in.

They were traveling out of a Baltimore/Washington airport and heading to Orlando, Florida.

After the pre-flight instructions about safety belts, oxygen masks, location of exits, and the fact that it was against federal law to tamper with smoke detectors in the rest rooms,  a voice came over the intercom.

The pilot said;

“Welcome to the first, fully-automated flight.

You will not have a pilot or a co-pilot today.

I am a TCC-5000 computer.

We will be flying at 35,000 feet heading down the eastern seaboard.

We will arrive in Orlando in 2 hrs. 58 minutes and 30 seconds.

Sit back and relax, because nothing can go wrong… go wrong… go wrong… go wrong.”

These passengers discovered that the object of the airline’s faith was the TCC-5000 Automated Computer Pilot and it was  proven to be flawed.

It was not flawless as supposed.

[I use a double-negative for emphasis] 

Neither are we flawless.

Neither is anyone or anything else in all of creation except for God himself.

He is flawless.

Therefore, his promises are flawless.

With him as our pilot, when he comes on the intercom like the TCC-5000 Auto-pilot he does not say;

“Sit back and relax, because nothing can go wrong… go wrong… go wrong… go wrong.”

He says;

“Sit back and relax, because 

I never go wrong.

With me, if anything goes wrong in your life, I can make it right.”

You CAN place your faith in me.

Ask yourself the question,

WHO OR WHAT WILL I ALLOW TO BE THE OBJECT OF MY FAITH?

WHO OR WHAT HAVE I BEEN ALLOWING MYSELF TO TRUST IN?

If Jesus is not in it, then it is not a reliable object of faith.

We all have experience with unreliable objects of faith.

We all have things or people that we do not want to place our faith or trust in.

For one reason or another they have shown themselves to be flawed.

They are not flawless.   

Most people have experienced this with doctors and chefs, two people that just came to mind.

Many have gone to a doctor and based on that experience during that appointment found themselves saying,

“I will never go back there.”

Why do we say that?

Because we do not trust them.

We are not willing to put our trust in them.

The same goes for a lot of other areas in our lives doesn’t it?

Let’s not even talk about restaurants. 

Liz and I have been to several restaurants over the past 34 years that we are convinced must have been fronts for some illegal activities.

First of all, hardly anyone was seen eating there and no cars if any were seen in their parking lot.

And second of all, the food was terrible.

And I mean absolutely terrible in the case of two that come to mind.   

On the other hand, you may have experienced a doctor or a restaurant that

was awesome. 

They may have even seemed flawless.

You never had a bad meal, or you never had an appointment where the doctor did not “listen” to you and hit the nail on the head as to the diagnosis and treatment.

Though there are no doctors or chefs in the world that are flawless, we have a God that is.

Though doctors and chefs may fail us,

God never will.

Today’s message is about 10 out of 12 guys who did not place their trust in God or his promises.

However, we must live our lives placing some degree of trust in humans that are not flawless.

The question again is,

Who is your object of faith?

What is your object of faith?

Numbers 13 tells of a group of people who did not have God as the object of their faith.

DON’T MAKE YOUR JOURNEY IN LIFE LONGER OR MORE DIFFICULT 

THAN YOU HAVE TO.

A journey to the Promised Land that should have taken 11 days or so ended up taking 40 years because of their disobedience.

An entire generation of people did not even get to their destination.

God promised them what he called the “Promised Land”, yet because of the fear of 10 spies, and the people listening to them over listening to God, God led them on a 40-year plane ride from the Baltimore/Washington airport to Orlando.

And an entire generation would never actually get to enter the gates of 

Disney World.

Everyone 20 years old and older would die in the wilderness.

Only their children would get to go in along with  Joshua and Caleb.

What was even worse than their fear, was the fact that they had just gone through one of the greatest salvation/rescue stories in the Bible and yet lost faith that God could defeat these giant people.

They were just led out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt witnessing 10 plagues

 sent by God to  convince Pharaoh to 

let them go free.

They just miraculously walked through the Red Sea on dry land.

Did you hear that?

God PROMISED a land, that he even named the “Promised Land”.

He miraculously saved them, yet

because of their fear and their lack of properly dealing with that fear, namely having faith in God and his promises, 

they suffered greatly.

Let’s take a look at their story.

A  Look at Numbers 13:1-3

The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. [Notice that God has promised this land to them. That is why it is called the “Promised Land”.

Faith simply says that if God said it, it is a “Done Deal”. This actually should be the end of the story. What we will now read about 10 faithless, spineless, fearful spies should never have had taken place. The people who trusted in the fear and faithlessness of the 120 should never had had to have wandered in the desert for 40 years and not be able to go into the Promised Land. After all, it was the “Promised Land”. Promised by God. This is where the saying comes in handy.

You have heard the quote;

“God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

And you may also remember me saying that the quote should actually go like this. 

“God said it, that settles it.”

You see, whether we believe something or not, does not make it true or not.

What God says is true, even if we don’t believe it.]

From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”[There were 12 Tribes of Israel therefore there were 12 spies sent out.]

So, at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.”

… (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)

17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said… 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21 So they went up and explored the land… from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward … where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived…  they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs…25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 

[God often used the number 40 for either testing, judging/punishing, preparing]

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: 

“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 

[Milk & Honey = The Jewish writings read that, “milk” flows from the goats’ (udders), and “honey” flows from the figs. 

Goats were very profitable for milk and meat, and fruit was a sign of great water and fertile land. The bottom line is that this would be a great place to live.]

28 BUT the PEOPLE who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. 

We even saw descendants of Anak there…

[Fear, Fear, Fear.]

We talked in the past about the proper thing to do with fear is to put it in the hands of God. It is not that these 10 0f the 12 spies did not get the memo. They knew that they were to trust in God and not their own understanding.]

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight. 

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;

    fear the Lord and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body

    and nourishment to your bones.”

-Proverbs 3:5-8 

30 THEN Caleb [Good guy] silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, 

for WE CAN CERTAINLY DO IT.”

[“We can do this thing.”]

31 BUT the men who had gone up with him [The ten who let FEAR get in the way] said, 

“WE CAN’T attack those people; 

they are stronger than we are.” 

32 And they spread among the Israelites a BAD REPORT about the land they had explored. 

They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. 

ALL the people we saw there are 

of great size. 

[“ALL” = Fear exaggerates. Fear often uses words like, Never, Always, Every, No One, Everyone. In this case they said that ALL the people were giants]

33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). 

We SEEMED like grasshoppers [Tiny]

in our own eyes,

[That is the problem of the 10 scared spies.

Their conclusion was based on what “Seemed” to them to be the reality.]

and we looked the same to them.” 

[Again, this is their problem. How can they know how they looked to the people in the new land. How do these 10 know that If the people in this new land found out that they were God’s Chosen People,

WHO IS A “STOPPER” IN YOUR LIFE?

“Stoppers” can be Good or Bad.

“Crime stoppers”

Good for law-abiding citizens… Bad for criminals.

Showstoppers

Good for the Leading Lady or man if it is them (= Academy Award)… Bad for the leading lady or man if it is someone else in the movie.

One example is at the Academy Awards where the Best Supporting Actor wins in the movie where the main star did not win.

This actually happens the vast majority of the time. The following are movies where both the award for the 

“Best actor” and “Best supporting actor” were

from the same movie.

Karl Malden and Vivien Leigh

“A Streetcar Named Desire” – 1952

Melvyn Douglas and Patricia Neal

“Hud” – 1964

Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli

“Cabaret” – 1973

Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine

“Terms of Endearment” – 1984

Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank

“Million Dollar Baby” – 2005

But in all other movies where someone won the Best Supporting Role, the leading man or lady was probably not thrilled, especially in the cases where they were not even nominated.

What is getting in the way of God’s promises?

“Faith-stoppers”

They are good if the Faith-stopper stops us from putting our faith in the “wrong” person or thing.

They are bad if the Faith-stopper gets in the way of our placing our faith and trust in God, his Word and his promises.

Moses led Israel out 650 years after God promised Abraham, he would be a great nation and would be given land.

Moses sent out one leader from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

After 40 days they reported back.

They all agreed on the good news of how awesome the land was, however

10 also focused on the negative.

Anek (giants).

Notice how they focused MORE 

on the negative.

Compared to the huge negatives (the Giants) God became a greater negative.

Where in your life has the “negatives” 

(or fear) of a situation overshadowed the 

“positives” of God?

Wherever it has, the thing or the person has become a “Faith-stopper” in your life.

When that happens, you need to get 

in the presence of what I’ll call 

“Faith-stopper Stoppers”.

“FAITH-STOPPER STOPPERS”

Joshua and Caleb were potential 

“Faith-stopper Stoppers”,

but the people did not allow them to be.

Joshua Caleb both trusted God because they remembered his promise of land, as well as his faithfulness through the entire escape and deliverance from Egypt.

THE FEARFUL & FAITHLESS TEN

Magnified the problems and Minimized the resources.

Their fear and faithlessness was contagious.

NUMBERS 14

“That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloudAll the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 

3 WHY is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? 

Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 

Then MOSES and AARON fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes

[An act and a sign of mourning] and said to the entire Israelite assembly, 

“The land we passed through and explored is exceedinglygood.If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give [For free as a gift] it to us. 

Only do not rebel against the Lord. 

And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. 

Their protection is gone, but 

the Lord is with US

Do not be afraid of THEM.”

10 BUT the whole assembly talked about stoning them.[Stoning Moses & Aaron]

Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How longwill these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the SIGNS I have performed among them? 

[“Signs” always pointed to something greater than themselves in the Bible.

Here God is talking about the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea pointing to HIS POWER and supremacy.]

12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them.14 And they [Egyptians] will tell the inhabitants of this land [the Giants in the promised Land] about it. 

They have ALREADY HEARD that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

[Note that the 10 spies “thought” that the giants viewed them as grasshoppers because they the 10 spies actually viewed themselves that way. But this verse says that the giants had ALREADY HEARD that God was “with these people”, namely the Israelites]

15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion

[Thank the Lord for this.]

Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

[Moses is pleading and asking God to cut slack to these people or else it will give mixed messages to the other nations that God is now turning his back on his people.]

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.

[God is saying that he has forgiven, however, there still are consequences to sin that these people who wanted to stone Moses and Aaron will have to live with the consequences of rebelling against God.]

21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 

24 BUT because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me WHOLEHEARTEDLY, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 

THEY FOCUSED ON the FEAR AND THE NEGATIVE rather than God’s strength/promise

ALWAYS BEWARE OF PEDDLERS OF FEAR BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL AROUND YOU.

Many news organizations and politicians 

do this.

It gets ratings.

Gossip is often fueled by fear.

Don’t let your decisions be based 

on your fear.

Remember “The fear [“Respect” for the Lord and his power to overcome any circumstance that causes us fear] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

GODLY LEADERS DO NOT NEED 

TO REMAIN SILENT

Joshua and Caleb did not

They trusted in the Lord and his promises,

and we should too.

It is good for our life in the areas of 

Body, Mind and Spirit

(The overall health of our body).

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;

[Because our own eyes will be often influenced by fear]

    fear the Lord 

[Fear = Respect the Lord and his full knowledge of all potential harm and danger to us]

and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."

-Proverbs 3:5-8

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your guidance and promises in the Bible.

Help me to identify the “Faith-stoppers” in my life.

Help me to be a “Faith-stopper Stopper” in the lives of others by encouraging them to press on in faithfulness to God when facing giants and giant obstacles. 

In Jesus’ name.

Amen!

Pastor Dave

Word of Life Church

17525 W. Bell Rd.

Surprise, AZ 85374

Word Of Life
   Church & preSchool

623-544-3000

wolchurch@wordoflifeaz.org

17525 W Bell Road

Surprise, AZ 85374

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