Muncy Presbyterian Church



                                                    SERMON PAGE ONE

Text: Numbers 13:26-33; 14:6-10; 20-25; Deuteronomy 1:34-36; Joshua 15:13-19 

Title: Caleb: Faith and Focus Despite Disappointment


I.  “Having surrounded all the difficulties of the dreary and barren wilderness [with its

      obstacles], we find the Israelites now encamped at Kadesh.  On the southern borders

      of Canaan, and having but a few leagues of travel before entering it.”

      A. They are so close to the promised land. 

1.      Something goes wrong.  They enter and see the land and its inhabitants.  A group of men are allowed a privilege that Moses, the great leader, would not be allowed to have.

           2. Their report, instead of faith in God’s revelation, stifles the history of the nation.

                a. All of the men but two give a bad report, one we will look at today.  


II. In the Bible there are many names we recognize like Moses and David.

   A. There are those personalities that, while not as well known, are important and

        honored by God.  

   B. One of them is Caleb and the way to meet and understand him is to read about his

        experience in life. 


III. We meet Caleb when the spies are sent into the land of Canaan.

      A. His name is not first on the list, nor last; just one name among the others, nothing

           to distinguish him at the time; but the privilege of being one of the selected men. 

      B. We read, “And the LORD said, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I

           am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a

           man, every one a leader among them.” 

           1. God invites the nation to see the land before they enter.  The Lord’s gift will be

               sufficient, even more than sufficient, bountiful. 

      C. In Deuteronomy 5 we read that the people make the suggestion about spying out

           the land.  Scholars tell us that the order should be seen this way.  The people

           approach Canaan.  They request the spies and that is evidence of their hesitation.

           God then tells Moses to send the spies, as an act of mercy to the people’s fear.

           1. Certainly they will see the Divine promise verified. 


IV.  That is not what happened.  Forgetting the promise of God, the spies see the

       obstacles.  Notice that while they admit the goodness of the land, they focus on the

       giants; the idea of the giants no doubt an exaggeration. Later in history the Israelites

       will enter the land and the giants will be few and far between.

       A. They brought back crops and samples of produce.

            1.  “It truly flows with milk and honey,” they say.  

       B. Then the word “nevertheless” is stated, the conjunction that changes the

            complexion of the report.   

       C. They mention the inhabitants.

             1. There are two words for ‘giant’ in Hebrew.  There is the Rephaim which can

                  translated as ‘giant’ but refers to a tall person or unusual height.

              2. The second word is ‘Nephilim’ and this has a darker meaning, a more

                  frightening meaning.

                    a. The Nephilim were more than just tall people, some believe they were a