Pioneers in the Promised Land

The Lord now said to Moses, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.

Numbers 13:1-3

God chose Moses to lead His people out of slavery. He is the same Moses who at the age of forty killed an Egyptian for striking a Hebrew slave. God chooses conflicted, imperfect people to complete His assignments. God does His best work in our weakness. Moses had lived a privileged life, pampered in the house of Pharoah as his daughter’s adopted son. Moses went from privileged to pariah, fleeing to the wilderness for forty years, fearing for his life.

God does some of His best work in the wilderness, weaning us from ourselves. God knows when we hit rock bottom we see more clearly. Moses watched his dreams and aspirations become as desolate as his newfound desert home in a sandstorm. But God saw Moses and knew his potential, and given time, would be pliable and obedient to His Father in Heaven.

After forty years in the wilderness, Moses had become a man who obeyed God. Moses matured and at 80 he experienced the flaming presence of God in the Burning Bush. God had his undivided attention. Moses understood the power and presence of God, and at this point in his life, when God speaks, you should listen and obey.

With all the alone time in the wilderness, Moses developed patience, and that would come in handy dealing with Pharoah. Time after time, plague after plague, Moses went back and forth with Pharoah, knowing that God would keep raising the stakes till he set the people free. Finally, Pharoah gave the go ahead, letting the people go free. But even then, he reneged on his promise and chased after the Israelites.

Moses witnessed the miraculous power of God parting the Red Sea. Can you even imagine this scene for Moses and the people? Watching a solid wall of water, rise up on both sides allowing the travelers to walk across the dry seabed. That must have been surreal. One moment fearful, the next triumphant! As Pharoah’s army of chariots approached, God allowed the waters to return to their natural state, burying the army at the bottom of the sea.

I have heard one college professor made it his yearlong goal to disprove the Bible and make a mockery of the Word of God. He told his students that certain parts of the Red Sea were only six inches deep, dismissing God’s miracle as a fairytale. He believed they walked across the Red Sea because it was shallow. A Christian student stood and said, “Wow, that makes it more of a miracle knowing Pharoah and his entire army drowned in six inches of water!”

Moses had experienced the power and sovereignty of God; He had a healthy fear of God and did not take His orders lightly. Moses knew God meant what he said and said what He meant, whenever He said it. So, when God told Moses to send out twelve men from the twelve tribes to explore the Promised Land of Canaan, that is exactly what he did.

After exploring the land for forty days the twelve men returned. Ten of the men reported that the people living there were powerful, some were giants, and their towns were large and fortified. Their defeated mindset ignited the old slave mentality within the people and rekindled rebellion within their hearts.

The two remaining scouts, Joshua and Caleb, were men of vision, courage, and faith. They believed they could go at once and conquer the land of Canaan. They remembered the works of the Lord and they were confident He would give them the victory and the Promise Land. Caleb was around 40 years old, while Joshua was about 30 years old, when they explored the land of Canaan.

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.” Numbers 14:6-8

After waiting and wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the generation with the slave mindset finally died out. Of the two million who left Egypt with Moses, Caleb and Joshua were all that remained from the original group. Because of their faith and fearlessness, God promised them and their families access to the land flowing with milk and honey.

In Joshua 14 we read, Living in the Promised Land Caleb said to Joshua, “Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So, give me the hill country that the Lord promised me.”

Joshua blessed Caleb giving him the land promised and he defeated all the giants living in the land.

Party time is over for America, we must be pioneers in the promised land. We must be people with vision, courage, and faith, to conquer the giant problems we face. Then, if the Lord is pleased with us, He will allow us to keep our land.

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