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The Best Focus for Our Future
Numbers 13:25-14:9
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 11, 2015
*Many thanks to Leland Crawford for giving me permission to use his excellent outline.
*About 3,400 years ago, God sent Moses to deliver the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
The LORD had already sent the ten terrible plagues onto Egypt.
The Israelites had been freed, and they had miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry land, as God parted the waters.
Moses has been on Mount Sinai to meet with the LORD and receive God's commandments for His people.
*Now, the Children of Israel were just outside of the Promised Land, and at the beginning of Numbers 13:
1. . .
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2. "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."
So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.
*The next thirteen verses list the twelve men by name.
Then God gives us some of the details of their mission.
They were to find out what the land, the cities and the people were like.
They were also told to bring back some of the fruit of the land.
*Verses 25-26 tell us:
25. . .
They returned from spying out the land after forty days.
So they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
*With this background in mind, let's start reading in Numbers13:27.
*Most people start wearing glasses in their 40s.
I started in the first grade.
I had no idea how bad my eyes were, but I must had failed a vision check in school.
And I can still remember riding home with my dad after I got my first pair of glasses.
It was unbelievable!
I could actually see the words on the signs.
I could even see the leaves on the trees!
I had no idea how much I had been missing.
*The right focus can make all the difference in the world.
And God wants us to be people with the right focus in life.
But what is the right focus for our lives?
God's Word can show us today.
1. First: Don't focus on the giants; focus on the grapes.
*It is easy to focus on the negative things in life.
That's what the ten wrong-thinking spies did.
And we see this starting in Numbers 13:27:
Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us.
It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
*These ten doubters also gave a bad report in vs. 31-32:
But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.''
And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
*In chapter 14, the Children of Israel also focused on the negative.
Please look at vs. 1-2 for example:
Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.
2. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt!
Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
*They focused on the negative.
And it's easy for us to do the same thing.
It's easy for us to focus on the negative, because there IS so much negative around us: Disasters, crime, corruption, health problems, job problems, family problems, and personal problems.
*These negative things are the giants we face.
But if we focus on the negative, we will never be the people God wants us to be.
And we have a choice to make: We can focus on the giants, or we can focus on the grapes.
*Joshua and Caleb focused on the grapes.
In Numbers 13:30: Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.''
*Then in Numbers 14:7-8, Joshua and Caleb both:
7. . .
spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'
*Joshua and Caleb focused on the grapes.
God wants us to be like them, and we can be like them.
That's why Philippians 4:8 says this to all Christians: "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things."
*"Meditate on."
That means "keep thinking on" these good things.
God's Word is telling us here that we have to be intentional about positive thinking.
We have to intentionally give attention to the good and godly things of life.
Paul knew that our tendency is to focus on the negative things in life.
And he knew that focusing on the good things is good for us.
*That's what Joshua and Caleb did.
And Church: We ought to be like them, because God has given so many good things to us.
He has blessed us with friends, family, finances, and freedom.
Best of all, God has given us His Word, His life, and His home in heaven!
*The list could go on and on.
These are the grapes in our lives, and we ought to focus on them.
So don't focus on the giants; focus on the grapes.
2. And don't focus on yourself; focus on your Savior.
*It's easy to focus on ourselves, and that's what the unbelieving spies did in Numbers 13:33.
They gave this bad report about the land God had promised to them: "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.''
*Well, the giants of life are bigger than us, but they aren't bigger than God!
Our giant problems are the grasshoppers in God's sight!
And yes, sometimes God does remind us how small and weak we are.
But that is only so we will look up to Him for help.
*Don't focus on yourself.
Focus on the Savior.
And when we do, one of the most important things we see is how much we need Him.
God wants us to know that we cannot save ourselves.
But that's exactly what the Children of Israel were trying to do when they wanted to go back to Egypt.
*We cannot save ourselves.
Rick Warren reinforced this truth based on his 3-year experience as a lifeguard.
And here's what Rick said about trying to save ourselves: "One of the things that all lifeguards know is that you can't save anybody as long as they are trying to save themselves.
The reason why is because they will take you under the water with them.
*If somebody is drowning and flailing around in panic, a lifeguard knows to just stay back for a few seconds and wait until they give up.
Once they give up it's really easy.
You just put their arm over your shoulder, keep their head out of the water, and swim back to shore.
There's nothing to it.
But you cannot save them as long as they are trying to save themselves.
*God wants to save you.
Jesus Christ wants to save you from your hurts, your habits, and your hang-ups.
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