Following God - Comfortable in Kadesh Barnea

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Numbers 13:1-14:24


Israel in Egypt

Israel had been delivered in miraculous fashion out of the hand of Pharaoh in Egypt. God had allowed his people to go to Egypt under the favor of Joseph. In Egypt Israel had swelled to become a mighty number of people and it was time for God to deliver them out.
God calls Moses and things begin to get worse before they get better
Exodus 5:23 KJV 1900
For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.
Then God tells Moses what He will do
Exodus 6:1–8 KJV 1900
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord.
The remaining chapters of Exodus give us an account of what the Lord did to prepare Israel
Aaron's rod swallows Pharaoh’s rod
10 plagues culminating in the death of the first born (Numbers 11)
Exodus 12:13 KJV 1900
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
God leads the nation and shortly after Pharoah follows
They cross the Red sea
God provides for them in the wilderness
He teaches them about the Tabernacle
He teaches them about how to use the Tabernacle

The Scene in Numbers 13

Kadesh- Barnea
The setting in Numbers 13 is the whole nation encamped in a place called Kadesh Barnea. It was a piece of land on the Eastern boarder of Palestine about 165 miles from Horeb (Mt. Sinai). Kadesh was a place of oasis in the desert. It had water and agricultural land that made the desert experience far more bearable. But it was never meant to be a place of permanent establishment.
The Command of the Lord
Numbers 13:1-3
The Charge of Moses
Numbers 13:17-25
The Commentary of the Spies
Number 13:26-33


God is calling us to follow him. He always has a destination for us. For the children of Israel it was Canaan Land and for Christians our destination is two-fold; present and future. The present destination is victorious living through the Spirit, and in the future is a home in Heaven with Jesus for an eternity.
Declaration: God has a defined goal for your life and for mine (Canaan pictures that goal)
Transition Statement: Let’s notice 3 truths about following God
Define the destination
Deal with the discord
Determine to make a decision
The first truth we must notice about following God is:

I. We must Define the Destination (Numbers 13:17-18)

A full understanding of what we are dealing with is important if we are going to have a successful Christian life.

A. The destination was full of opportunity - the fruit of the land

Numbers 13:24 KJV 1900
The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.
Numbers 13:27 KJV 1900
And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
Numbers 14:7 KJV 1900
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
The land represented victory and a place that God desired Israel to dwell

B. The destination was full of obstacles - the foes in the land

Numbers 13:28–29 KJV 1900
Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
Obstacles can be people (Giants)
Obstacles can be physical & material (Walled City)
Application: Someone has said that “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” It is good to have goals in life, but it is better if those goals are God’s goals for you!
God had a physical place that he promised for Israel to dwell and he has a spiritual plane that he has called us to reside.
We must define the destination and then:

II. We must Deal with Discord (Numbers 13:30-14:9)

It is important that we are fully aware of the destination that God desires for every Christian, but it is equally important that we are aware of the conflict that we will face in getting there. If it seems like the flesh vs the Spirit battle is everywhere in Scripture it is because it is. If we are going to move in the direction the Lord is calling than we must deal with this problem from a proper biblical perspective!

A. The discord on the inside (Caleb’s Countrymen)

Caleb’s countrymen wanted to stone him
Numbers 14:10 KJV 1900
But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
Jesus taught us some very important truths in relation to this:
Matthew 10:34–37 KJV 1900
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

B. The discord on the outside (Canaan's Giants)

Canaan had foes that needed to be faced. Throughout the Bible God’s people have had enemies! We face enemies today.
The world is our enemy
1 John 2:15–17 KJV 1900
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
James 4:4 KJV 1900
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The flesh is our enemy
Romans 7:18 KJV 1900
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
2 Corinthians 10:3–7 KJV 1900
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
The devil is our enemy
1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Ephesians 6:10–13 KJV 1900
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Application: Nothing worth doing in life is easy. To obey the Lord and face the challenges that lie before us will not be easy, but it will be worth it!
We face challenges, but all of them have been defeated!
We must define the destination, we must deal with the discord and finally...

III. We must Determine to Make a Decision (Numbers 14, 15, 16 )

Everything in the Christian life is about making decisions. Where we are in life, is a direct result of the decisions we have made. We can choose to make excuses - background, upbringing, environment, job, money problems, circumstances....but the truth remains - we are the sum of our decisions!
Israel’s decision was a resounding “No”!
They said God we see the land, it looks nice but no thanks!

A. Israel’s decision brought death (Nu 14, 15, 16)

Death in an answer to prayer
Numbers 14:2 KJV 1900
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
Numbers 14:29 KJV 1900
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
Death in an answer to presumption (Numbers 15 the careless man on the sabbath day)
Death in an answer to pride (Numbers 16:1-33 Korah, Dathan & Abiram - rebellion against Moses)
Death in an answer to persistence (Numbers 16:41-50 - Rebellion of the people & the plague)

B. Israel’s decision brought despair (Nu 17)

Here is the story of Aaron’s rod. The authority that God had set up was being challenged and we are shown how God dealt with the situation. Aaron’s rod had budded and brought forth almonds. These extraordinary circumstances brought Israel face to face with their sin and they lamented:
Nu 17:12 “Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish….” — Thoughts of despair!!!


We must remember that God is not calling us into a life of stagnation. A stagnant pond is a foul pond that no one would want to drink from.
God is calling us forward!
Sad commentary on these events:
Psalm 95:8–11 KJV 1900
Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, And as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, Proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, And said, It is a people that do err in their heart, And they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath That they should not enter into my rest.
Hebrews 3:7–19 KJV 1900
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Following the Lord will probably leave you in the minority. It will also put you in a position to experience things that others will not experience.
Caleb for example:
Numbers 14:6–9 KJV 1900
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.
Numbers 14:24 KJV 1900
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Illustration: In a seminary mission’s class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, turned the key, and to Jackson's astonishment, the engine roared to life.
For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.
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