This probably sounds like something out of a fable, but it’s very real. We all have experience with giants in our lives. Allow us to explain…
We all face trails from time to time. Difficult trials, that overwhelm us with such an intensity that we do not know where to turn to or what to do. These trials may be due to a bad report. You may be facing this right now, even amidst other trials. When you hear this report, your whole world may be crushing down in front of your eyes. These bad reports are like the message the Israelites were confronted with when the spies returned and reported back about the land. They reported of giants and saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to them. The Israelites, having already been stretched a bit by what has happened to them since they left Egypt, now has to face this bad report. It has been more than a year of difficulties and now this. It must have been quite overwhelming to them.
Have you experienced such a situation?
We are facing such a giant at the moment. We home school our children, because we believe it is our God-given responsibility to do so.
5 â€œYou shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 â€œThese words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 â€œYou shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
This is discipleship, being with our children and teaching them about the Creator of heaven and earth. Our belief in YHVH is central and an inseparable part of everything we do and teach our children; He can be seen in history, in mathematics, in geography and in every created little critter. How do we teach these subjects without teaching our children Who made it all? We are to lay the foundation of their tender lives and teach them about YHVH, about what He expects of us and them, about their purpose in life. How do we do that if we give the authority to teach to a secular world? A world with the foundational belief that everything that exists was created by chance; a big bang!
We are responsible to train them up in the way they should go.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
We can expand much more about this calling to homeschool our children, but this is not the focus of this study. We may write an article on this later, please let us know if you are interested.
This freedom to home school our children is threatened as the government wants to make home schooling illegal in The Netherlands. Not only do they want to make home schooling illegal; they want to make it difficult, even impossible for Christian schools to exist. This report is like a giant standing over us and threatening our freedom to choose how to raise our children. We also know this giant may be the first step to taking away religious freedom in this land. It is indeed a very serious matter; a great giant.
You may be facing another giant right now. A giant who scares you and threatens your life, the life of a loved one, your future or the future of your children. This is terrifying, and it is normal to be scared in these situations. Fear is a natural physiological reaction when we feel threatened in any way.
However, we have the power to choose how we react to that fear. Do we respond to it with terror, anxiety, grumbling or rebellion? How should we respond to this?
YHVH in His greatness provides instruction for us in His word in times like these. We must follow the examples He gave us and live according to that.
1 Corinthians 10:11
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Let us study the example given to us about a bad report about giants in the land and see what we can learn from this.
YHVH commanded Moses to sent out spies
When the Israelites came close to the promised land, YHVH commanded them to send men to spy out the land.
1 Then YHVH spoke to Moses saying, 2 â€œSend out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathersâ€™ tribes, every one a leader among them.â€ 3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of YHVH, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.
YHVH gave them the instruction to spy out the land. Moses gave them more detailed instructions…
17 When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, â€œGo up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country. 18 â€œSee what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. 19 â€œHow is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications? 20 â€œHow is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.â€ Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes. 21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, at Lebo-hamath.
Was this perhaps a test to purify His people before they enter the land? YHVH knew what would happen…Consider this, every bad report or trial we face, is a test, a sifting, if you will. Will we endure, will we stand strong in our belief or will we be overcome by fear and unbelief? We shall get back to this later.
The spies came back after 40 days. The report started off on a positive noteâ€¦
25 When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, 26 they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Thus they told him, and said, â€œWe went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Then came the “nevertheless” and the report changed to a negative one.
28 â€œNevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 â€œAmalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.â€
Caleb tried to intervene
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, â€œWe should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.â€
What is happening here; is like the exchange that goes on inside of us when we receive a bad report. Caleb can be likened to the Ruach, Who tries to talk reason into us; tries to show us the spiritual, while we just continue to focus on the physical just like the people do here.
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, â€œWe are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.â€ 32 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, â€œThe land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. 33 â€œThere also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.â€
Then we may react just like the Israelites did…
The people’s reaction
1 Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, â€œWould that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 â€œWhy is YHVH bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?â€
Oh, and how badly they wanted to return to where they came from. Notice that they want to do it for the sake of their wives and children. Don’t we do the same?
Joshua and Caleb tries to convince them not to rebel
Then the “Voice of reason” spoke again. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and spoke to the people. They urge them not to rebel agains YHVH, but to trust in Him.
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. 6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, â€œThe land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 â€œIf YHVH is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to usâ€”a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 â€œOnly do not rebel against YHVH; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and YHVH is with us; do not fear them.â€
Take note, they say ” If YHVH is pleased with usâ€¦” What pleases YHVH?
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
If only they had faith in the promises of YHVH. Without faith, it is impossible to please YHVH. Do we have faith? The writer of Hebrews then continues to go through history to show how certain people had faith in the promises of YHVH and we, in hindsight, see how those promises were kept by YHVH. Should that not encourage us to have faith also?
However, the people made the wrong choice and they chose to rebel against YHVH. This was the result…
YHVH’s reaction to their rebellion
11 YHVH said to Moses, â€œHow long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? 12 â€œI will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.â€
Moses intercedes for the people
Moses then interceded for the people.
17 â€œBut now, I pray, let the power of YHVH be great, just as You have declared, 18 â€˜YHVH is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.â€™ 19 â€œPardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.â€
YHVH relents, He is merciful
This passage speaks of YHVH’S great mercy, not only towards Israel, but also towards us. YHVH did not kill them by a plaque as He wanted to, but relented after Moses interceded for them. Take note, that He also did not deny them entry to the land just based on this one incident of unbelief. He says here they have put Him to the test “these ten times” and have not listened to His voice. This could be a literal ten times, but could also refer to many times.
20 So YHVH said, â€œI have pardoned them according to your word; 21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of YHVH. 22 â€œSurely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24 â€œBut My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.
Why was YHVH so angry? Was it only because of their unbelief? We have seen before that it is impossible to please YHVH without faith. However, although this is a factor, the grumbling and rebellion clenched it for them. This was also not based on this one incident as we have seen. YHVH is very patient with us, but up to a point…when the measure is full, it is full!
YHVH is also just!
The spies who brought the bad report was killed with a plaque. They led the people astray; they fed the fear without comforting them and pointing them in the right direction. They were the leaders; they were supposed to be the strong ones. Do you understand now that the judgment of leaders would be more severe? This is a reason.
The people who rebelled were taken out during the forty years in the wilderness; they died because of their rebellion.
Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, stood strong and tried to encourage the people. They were commended and given even greater positions of leadership. They were probably as scared as the other spies were. We don’t know for sure, but it does not matter, because we know they spoke and acted differently.
All of us will at times be confronted with a bad report, and this may scare us; however, this is where we need to take YHVH’s Word and read of all the times He delivered Israel and have faith that He will do the same for us, His children. We are to pray for strength to continue to do His will, remain obedient and not grumble against Him. This is not easy to do; we know from experience, but we must. This is also where it helps a lot to have a support network of godly friends. Friends who will, like Joshua and Caleb, encourage us en help us to get perspective; perspective based on YHVH’s Word. We must also choose to listen to them. Israel did not…
The power of words
They chose to grumble and rebel. Did you notice that YHVH punished the people according to what they pronounced upon themselves? Words are powerful!
28 â€œSay to them, â€˜As I live,â€™ says YHVH, â€˜just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. 30 â€˜Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 â€˜Your children, however, whom you said would become a preyâ€”I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 â€˜But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 â€˜Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. 34 â€˜According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition.
Just a reminder, here are their words:
2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, â€œWould that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 â€œWhy is YHVH bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?â€
They pronounced their own judgment with the words they spoke. We are to be so careful what we speak especially in times of difficulty. We sometimes speak out of desperation things we should not. We are to remember that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
20 With the fruit of a manâ€™s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
We must be careful with our words. Words have power. The words the Israelites spoke, and the action they chose, kept them from entering the land. It cost them their lives. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Remember this always. Let not the words we speak keep us from entering the land. Let us rather speak life, like Joshua and Caleb did and enter the land.
This passage leaves one question. Why did this happen?
We have seen at the beginning of this study that we mentioned that this was a test.
Passing under the rod, rebels purged from you
The test has a purpose…
37 â€œI will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am YHVH.
What does it mean to pass under the rod? It does not mean to be afflicted as we have been taught. To pass under the rod means to be counted like a shepard counts his sheep when they enter the sheepfold. The book of Leviticus and Jeremiah confirms this (Lev 27:32; Jer 33:13) Here is what is written in the Bible Knowledge commentary:
Those who are His will enter into the sheepfold and those who are not, the rebels, will be purged. This passage in Ezekiel refers to this and similar incidents in the wilderness. This is also a picture of what is to comeâ€¦
We hope you have learned as much, from this passage, as we have. This study has encouraged us greatly and pointed us in the right direction, YHVH’s way.
Every time we are faced with a bad report or a trial, we are to see it as a test. We are to look at it with spiritual eyes and make sure we pass the test. YHVH teaches us through His Word what we are to do. Please take heed of this. Remember every little detail of this story, make it your own. We all need to learn and do this. It could mean the difference between life and death. Remember three things from this study: Speak life, donâ€™t’ rebel and most importantly trust in YHVH ALWAYS!
5 Trust in YHVH with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear YHVH and turn away from evil.
May YHVH help us all to do this!
Do you have something to add or a testimony to share? We would be greatly blessed by it! Please share this message as it is so important, we certainly don’t want to learn this by experience. Let us learn this from YHVH’S Word instead.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.
- Dyer, C. H. (1985). Ezekiel. (J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, Eds.)The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Tags: bad report, Deut 6:5, giants, giants in the land, home school, Israel home schooling, keep commandments, Moses, Numbers 13, obedience, power of words, Prov 22:6, proverbs, spies, test, trial, Y'Shua
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