Numbers 13 Commentary

Numbers 13 Commentary: Go spy the land.

The LORD orders Moses to send out 12 spies to explore the land. Approximately two years after leaving Egypt, Israel is now ready to take possession of the land the LORD had given to Abraham.

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever… Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13 verses 14 to 15 and verse 17.

In this chapter the LORD once again invites Abraham – now as Israel, to ‘look around’. Finally Abraham can take possession of the land. But not until the usual drama of unbelief and rebellion. How different things are now! Abraham had responded by settling at Mamre and building an altar to the LORD there. From this base Abraham would go on and defeat four powerful kings whose land was equivalent to what Israel was about to inherit. Now his children respond in fear and doubt.

Chapter 13 is key in deciding the length of the journey, as we shall see shortly. We shall see how a journey of 14 days ended up being a journey of 40 years. The book of Numbers is about explaining these strange numbers.  

In these lines we can see how fear and doubt transform human perception. Because of fear and doubt, the land that was reported to be productive suddenly became a bad land that consumed its inhabitants. The more they focused on the enemy the more diminished they became in their own sight. What you look at in the moment of decision determines your destiny. If only they looked at the LORD who helped them defeat a far more superior Egyptian army at the Red Sea, the outcome of their faith was going to be very different. Today the saint has the word of the LORD to enrich their CV as they face battles. All mountains become small, as we look at the greatness of the LORD.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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