Numbers 13* Twelve men sent to search the land of Canaan, Theirinstructions. (1-20) Their proceedings. (21-25) Their account ofthe land. (26-33)1-20 A memorable and melancholy history is related in this andthe following chapter, of the turning back of Israel from theborders of Canaan, and the sentencing them to wander and perishin the wilderness, for their unbelief and murmuring. It appears,#De 1:22|, that the motion to search out the land came from thepeople. They had a better opinion of their own policy than ofGod's wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves by believing the reportsand representations of sense rather than Divine revelation. Wewalk by sight not by faith. Moses gave the spies this charge, Beof good courage. It was not only a great undertaking they wereput upon, which required good management and resolution; but agreat trust was reposed in them, which required that they shouldbe faithful. Courage in such circumstances can only spring fromstrong faith, which Caleb and Joshua alone possessed. 21-25 The searchers of the land brought a bunch of grapes withthem, and other fruits, as proofs of the goodness of thecountry; which was to Israel both the earnest and the specimenof all the fruits of Canaan. Such are the present comforts wehave in communion with God, foretastes of the fulness of joy weexpect in the heavenly Canaan. We may see by them what heavenis. 26-33 We may wonder that the people of Israel staid forty daysfor the return of their spies, when they were ready to enterCanaan, under all the assurances of success they could have fromthe Divine power, and the miracles that had hitherto attendedthem. But they distrusted God's power and promise. How much westand in our own light by our unbelief! At length the messengersreturned; but the greater part discouraged the people from goingforward to Canaan. Justly are the Israelites left to thistemptation, for putting confidence in the judgment of men, whenthey had the word of God to trust in. Though they had found theland as good as God had said, yet they would not believe it tobe as sure as he had said, but despaired of having it, thoughEternal Truth had engaged it to them. This was therepresentation of the evil spies. Caleb, however, encouragedthem to go forward, though seconded by Joshua only. He does notsay, Let us go up and conquer it; but, Let us go and possess it.Difficulties that are in the way of salvation, dwindle andvanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise ofGod. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him thatbelieves; but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to betrusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of God,magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart withdiscouragement. May the Lord help us to believe! we shall thenfind all things possible.
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