Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Numbers 13:1-33

Dec 25, 2020

“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” (Numbers 13:31)

On April 14, 1912, a gigantic ocean-going vessel raced full speed across the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage from England, heading for New York. Then the unthinkable happened. The most luxurious ocean liner of her day, the Titanic, grazed an iceberg on her starboard side and began to take on water. In less than three hours, she vanished into the sea.

The Titanic had 2,227 passengers on board, but the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178. This ship was thought to be unsinkable! In 1912, regulations did not require a vessel to carry enough lifeboats on board to cover every passenger, and so more than 1,500 people perished.

Can you imagine the trauma to the survivors in the lifeboats? Many were separated from their loved ones as most of the men agreed to forego their places on the lifeboats so that the women and children could be spared. Many must have been in the pit of despair as the huge liner sank before their eyes. Would they die too? Negativism was probably the attitude of most of the people on the lifeboats. A watery grave seemed inevitable. Who could think positively in such dire straits?

On board the Titanic was a colorful millionairess from Denver, Colorado, named Margaret Tobin Brown. She took charge of the lifeboat she was in and turned the negative attitude into hope that they would make it. She declared that she was unsinkable. Her courage helped the people in her lifeboat to take heart and not give up their hope of rescue.

Caleb must have been a man with similar courage. Ten of the twelve spies he had been commissioned with seemed overwhelmed with what lay ahead. They feared what they had seen, and were convinced they could not conquer the giants in Canaan. It seemed hopeless to think of winning over the odds. How different their attitudes might have been if they had only remembered what God had already done for them.

The ten spies acknowledged that the land flowed with milk and honey, but they added the word “nevertheless.” This word means “in spite of that; however.” They saw the land was a good land and all that God had promised, but they also saw the giants, which dimmed the view of what good they had seen. The bad outweighed the good, or so they thought. They forgot that God was on their side. Doubt led to unbelief and unbelief to rebellion.

If we want to receive God’s blessing in this life, we must believe God’s promises. As we fight the good fight of faith, we must look to God; He goes before us to help us conquer every foe. Our faith will help us to see that the battle is not ours, but His. He will fight for us and, in the end, we will have the victory, and we will enter our heavenly promised land. Let us take God at His Word, for faith brings blessings!


As the Children of Israel neared the Promised Land, the place of milk and honey, God instructed Moses to send spies to search out the territory. Moses chose one man from every tribe to make up a team to determine what it was like, and to discover whether the people who dwelt there were strong or weak, few or many. They were to find out if the land was good or bad and whether the people lived in cities or dwelled in strongholds.

These twelve spies went into the land of Canaan and discovered that it was truly a good land. However, ten of the spies came to a negative conclusion, discounting what God had already promised and what He had already done for the Israelites. They returned to Moses and told him that the land flowed with milk and honey, but in the next breath they mentioned the giants in the land. They doubted what God could do.

Those ten spies looked at the obstacles as an unconquerable foe, disregarding the fact that God had promised them the land. They had forgotten the victories won in the wilderness, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptians, the water given out of the rock, the manna from Heaven, the quail for meat, the clothes and shoes that did not wear out. Their lack of faith led to unbelief and then to outright rebellion.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)

II.   The journey from Sinai to the plains of Moab
     B.   The stay at Kadesh-Barnea
           1.   The inspection of the land (13:1-24)
                 a.   The command (13:1-2)
                 b.   The spies (13:3-16)
                 c.   The route (13:17-24)
           2.   The report of the spies (13:25-33)

A Closer Look

  1. How many spies went into Canaan?
  2. Why did ten spies bring back an evil report?
  3. What three characteristics did the ten spies have that would ultimately lead to their death?
  4. What should you do when circumstances around you seem hopeless?


In this life, we face many trials, problems, and barriers. How do we handle them? Do we just give up and say, “It’s hopeless”? Or do we look to God, knowing that with Him on our side, “we are well able” to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Reference Materials