By David J. Riggs

   A. I have a Bible quiz for you. Who are these men: Shammau,
      Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi,   
      and Geuel?
      1. If you know who these are, congratulations, you are among
         a handful of persons who remember those remote characters
         in the Bible.
   B. Do you know these men: Joshua and Caleb?
      1. Yes, they were outstanding leaders in the nation of Israel.
   C. The ten men mentioned earlier are the other spies recorded in
      Num. 13 and 14.
      1. Their names soon forgotten, but their evil deeds live on.

   A. The children of Israel were encamped in the Wilderness of      
      Paran, not far from the land of Canaan.
      1. God told Moses to send a leader from every tribe to spy out
         the land. Num. 13:2; 14:6-8
   B. After 40 days the spies returned and said that Canaan was a
      wonderful land that flows with milk and honey, but ten of the
      spies expressed these words of rebellion - Num. 13:31-33.
      1. Joshua and Caleb were of a different spirit. Num. 13:30
      2. Nonetheless, the majority prevailed and Israel wandered in
         the wilderness forty years while that whole generation died.
      3. This account from Numbers 13 & 14 should be very familiar
         to most readers.
         a. Paul wrote - 1 Cor. 10:11.
         b. Thus, our question is what can we learn from this
            incident of the 12 spies?

   A. The attitude and actions of the ten spies was altogether evil. 
      Let's look closely and see if we can determine their problems.
      1. Inferiority Complex or Self-depreciation. Num. 13:33
         a. They saw themselves as tiny, little grasshoppers who
            would be crushed by big giants.
         b. Some Christians are so afraid of failure that they become
            reserved, overly cautious, and uninvolved.
            (1) They follow a policy of guarded living, holding
                back time, talents, and money from God's service.
                Their motto is: "To keep from failing -- don't try!"
         c. On the other hand, those who are willing to risk making
            mistakes and failures.
         d. These are the ones who ultimately achieve great things
            for the Lord.
         e. Our motto should be - Phil. 4:13.
      2. Fear.  Joshua indicated they were afraid. Num. 14:9
         a. Fear naturally follows doubt and self-depreciation.
         b. Fear can paralyze us from doing what we ought to do.
         c. The strong work hard at overcoming fear. 2 Tim. 1:7;
            Rev. 21:8
      3. A Pessimistic, Negative Spirit.
         a. Negativism had set in as they tried to evaluate their    
         b. Negativism is one of the devil's most powerful tools.
            (1) The devil couldn't stand the thought of Israel
                trusting God and moving forward by faith to
                receive the land as God had promised.
            (2) A man approached an Atheist one day and asked
                for a donation for foreign preaching. The Atheist
                turned him down, but the man continued his plea
                and the Atheist again said, "No." Finally, the
                determined one said, "Won't you give at least $10
                to save a soul from going to hell?" The Atheist
                shouted, "No, there's not enough people going to
                hell as it is!" We pose a question for personal
                application: "Do your interest and actions
                regarding foreign preaching demonstrate that you
                have about the same negative attitude as the
      4. Emotional Tactics.
         a. The ten spies were masters at using emotional scare
            tactics to arouse the people. Num. 14:1-2
         b. The evil report of the ten spies sparked terror in the
            hearts of thousands.
         c. When emotionalism takes over, good, sound Biblical
            reasoning is thrown out.
         d. Joshua and Caleb tried to give their evaluation of the
            trip, but all the congregation sought to stone them with
         e. Emotionalism closes one's mind to truth and proper
      5. Unbelief.  The word "unbelief" sums up the whole of their
         problem. Heb. 3:17-19
         a. Doubt caused them to question their ability to take the
         b. The Israelites had already seen God's mighty power in
            the ten plagues and the crossing of the red sea.
            (1) An Atheistic teacher was trying to belittle the
                Bible to a class of college students by saying that
                the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites was
                no miracle at all because they crossed at a place
                where the water was only six inches deep. A
                young man in the back of the class raised his hand,
                and said, "Praise God for the great miracle." The
                teacher said, "What miracle?" The young man
                said, "God drowned the whole Egyptian army in
                only six inches of water!"
            (2) The Israelites should have trusted and relied on the
                power of God.
                (a) Forty years later, in their first battle, the
                    Israelites did not lose a single soldier. Num.
         c. We, too, have God on our side. All we need to do is call
            on Him. Rom. 8:31,37; Phil. 4:13; Psalm 20:7
      6. Rebellion. 
         a. The preceding attitudes contributed to the spirit of
            rebellion against God. Num. 14:3-4
         b. There they are, on the threshold of the promised land,
            but they want to return to the land of slavery!
      7. Severe Punishment.
         a. Unbelief and disobedience bring severe punishment.
            Num. 14:26-32
         b. Those evil spies were not given forty years but were
            destroyed immediately. Num. 14:36-37

      1. Confidence. 
         a. They had confidence that God was with them, and were
            determined to do His will. Num. 14:9
      2. Courage. 
         a. They stepped in and tried to reason and encourage the
            people, even when they were about to stone them. Num.
         b. It's amazing that later it was these giants that Caleb
            chose to defeat. Joshua 14:12
         c. God later encouraged Joshua. Joshua 1:9
         d. Today, we need to bravely face the giants in our lives
            (suffering, hardship, or whatever).
            (1) We need to stop complaining and bemoaning the
                hardships we have, and bravely face them.
            (2) A famous writer said, "When I was a boy, I
                thought life was rough because I had no shoes,
                until I met a boy who had no feet."
            (3) A lady said, "I thought life was rough because I
                had no new shoes or purse, until I met a woman
                who had no credit cards."
      3. A Positive, Optimistic Spirit. Num. 13:30
         a. All of us need to be willing and able.
         b. There was once a farmer who had two mules. One was
            named "willing" and the other was named "able." The
            story goes that willing was willing, but was not able. On
            the other hand, able was able, but was not willing. Able
            thought willing should have been more able, but how
            could he, when he was not able, but was willing? Willing
            thought able should have been more willing, but how
            could he, when he was not willing, but was able? All
            would have been great, if only willing would have been
            more willing, and able more able; but, neither willing   
            nor able were both willing and able, and as you might    
            well expect, the farmer didn't get much done.
      4. An influence for Good.
         a. They didn't have much of an influence at the time of the
            rebellion, but in later years they did.
         b. Even today, Joshua and Caleb have a powerful influence
            for good on us.
         c. Today, we need good leaders as they were.
            (1) We need good leaders who do not let emotions
            (2) We need good leaders who are not opinionated,
                but rely on God and His Word.
      5. Faith. Num. 13:30; 14:7-8
         a. Their most important asset was their deep-rooted faith
            in God.
         b. We, too, need an unwavering faith in God.
         c. Dramatic and significant is the story of the Pilgrims,   
            our forefathers. On December 21, 1620, the Mayflower
            dropped anchor in Plymouth Bay, with Captain
            Christopher Jones at her helm. It had been a grueling
            voyage, taking the sixty-six days to make the perilous
            crossing. There had been disease, anxiety, and childbirth
            among the 102 courageous passengers. Furthermore,
            they arrived on the New England shore during a hard
            winter which ultimately claimed half of their number.
            However, when Spring came, and the captain of the
            Mayflower offered free passage to anyone desiring to
            return, not a single person accepted. The faith of the
            survivors, who had signed the famous "Compact"
            beginning with the words, "In the name of God, Amen
            and Amen," was taking on visible meaning. They had
            come to a wilderness to carve out a better way of life.
            Faith prompted the voyage; faith sustained them, and
            their religious convictions constrained them to raise
            their voices in praise to God. Their hardship, sacrifice,
            devotion, concept of government, and vigorous religion
            all remind us of those Bible worthies who sought a
            country whose builder and maker is God.
      6. Obedience.
         a. The fact that they "wholly followed the Lord" is
            mentioned several times in the Scriptures. Num. 32:11-
            12; Deut. 1:36; Joshua 14:8-14
      7. Rewards of the faithful.
         a. God abundantly blessed Joshua and Caleb.
         b. We, too, need to do as they did. Psalm 19:11; 2 Pet.

   A. Remember, God is the final judge.
      1. He is the One who will either reward or punish.
      2. Let us learn His will and do it.
   B. There remains a happy Canaan land for us, the promised land of
      1. Shall we follow in the steps of ten spies or Joshua and     
      2. Shall we serve God in spite of danger, persecution, or
      3. Shall we serve God in spite of the fact that His way is not 
         the most popular?
      4. Shall we serve God in spite of relatives and friends who
         choose the opposite direction?
      5. Shall we serve God when others are having fun in sin and
      6. If we "wholly follow the Lord," we will reach the promised
         land, and we will be an influence for good both now and