Sun, Oct 26, 2008


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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
NUMBERS 13:30-33

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Numbers chapter 13 as we look at what faith does and what unbelief does in our lives. You see, faith focuses on God, it believes what God says, and then walks on, moves forward. But, unbelief tends to focus on the situation, it does not believe in what God has said, and it goes nowhere or it moves backwards!

            The problem we see is people speaking boldly about why this can’t be done or that can’t be done and they are causing others to listen and follow them.  But, if you have the truth of God and believe in what God has said, not only will you walk down that path He has set for you, but others will follow!

            Let me share with you these words from A. W. Tozer because I believe they are relevant for today as they were in his day.  Now keep in mind that A. W. Tozer lived from 1897 to 1963 and his first pastorate was in 1919.  And yet, the words he wrote down apply to us and even more today. He wrote:

A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads "Thou shalt not disagree;" and a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins "Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything." It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief.

Imagine Moses agreeing to take part in a panel discussion with Israel over the golden calf; or Elijah engaging in a gentlemanly dialogue with the prophets of Baal. Or try to picture our Lord Jesus Christ seeking a meeting of the minds with the Pharisees to iron out differences.

The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step. Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable.

- A. W. Tozer, Gems From Tozer, 47-48

Keep in mind that this was written some 50 years ago or so and today, the battle for the truth must be intensified.  Now, the focus this morning is not really false doctrine but false information spewed out to believers that leads to unbelief in contrast to the truth that leads toFAITH WALKING!

To set the stage for our study this morning the children of Israel have been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They have spent a little over a year at Mount Sinai where God gave to them His Law, the Tabernacle blueprints, the sacrificial system, the priesthood, the Levites who were to do the work of God, how to set up camp, how to take down the camp and move to a new location and-so-on.

Now, a little over a year at Mount Sinai and the Tabernacle is up and running, the sacrifices are offered up and God is now calling them to move to the Promise Land. This journey, directed by God, has brought them to Kadesh Barnea, which was on the boarder of the land of Canaan, the Promise Land, on the east side of the Jordan River. How excited they must have been, God is answering His promise He made to them.

But, there is some doubt about what this land is all about and in Deuteronomy 1:19-24 we are told, So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites, as the Lord our God had commanded us. Then we came to Kadesh Barnea. And I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountains of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ And every one of you came near to me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come.’ The plan pleased me well; so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe. And they departed and went up into the mountains, and came to the Valley of Eshcol, and spied it out.

God tells them to “Go in and possess the land” and they said, “Before we do, let us spy it out to make sure everything is okay, that we can actually defeat this enemy and possess the land!” I think you can see the problem already. But God did allow them to go in and spy out the land to test their faith and to show them what was really in their hearts, if they truly trusted in the Lord.  Thus, 12 spies, one leader from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, excluding the tribe of Levi who were to serve the Lord, went into the land of Canaan to spy it out.

Now, we are going to change the sequence of their report a little. First the good news and then we will look at the bad news. It is a kind of good spy bad spy idea. With that said, let’s begin reading in Numbers chapter 13, starting in verse 30 and see what the Lord has for us as we study the topic of FAITH WALKS!

NUMBERS 13:30-33

            In these verses we see two good spies, Caleb and Joshua; and then ten bad spies! In verse 30 I want to look at 3 main points regarding what Caleb did. First of all, CALEB QUIETED THE PEOPLE. Then, CALEB EXHORTED THE PEOPLE. And lastly,CALEB FOCUSED THE PEOPLE ON THE LORD.  And, as we will see, Joshua is right there with Caleb on this issue. After we look at the two good spies, then we will focus on the ten bad spies and see what lessons we can learn from them and what they did.



            Why did Caleb need to quiet the people? Because the ten bad spies came back telling them that there is no way we can defeat the enemy, these people, they are giants! Thus, as word spread, confusion grew, stories were exaggerated on, and the noise of their confusion, their fear, their unbelief was drowning out the voice of God. Thus, they needed to stand still and see the salvation that God would bring to them, what He has promised them so that they may walk by faith and not by sight!

            Folks, how easily this can happen in our own lives. Maybe there is turmoil in the family, in the home. Your children are out of control and you want to throw a bucket of holy water on them to cast out the demons thinking if that doesn’t work, at least the bucket will silence them for a time!  Maybe you are having a difficult time with your spouse and you swear you saw their head spinning around the other night, it is their fault, they are possessed by the Devil and it is not your fault. Or your job is in upheaval, all kinds of problems. The bills are out of control. Jupiter is not aligned with Mars or whatever the issue is!

            And in all that turmoil, in all that clatter and chatter, with all that noise going on, you can’t hear the still small voice of God in your life, it is being drowned out!  Think of it like this.  People who wear hearing aids have difficulty hearing, obviously. But with the hearing aid in they are not only hearing the voice of the person they are talking to but all the other noises out there. In fact, it can be so bad, so distracting with some hearing aids that you truly can’t hear the person you are talking to because of all the other noise that is out there.

            The solution is simple. You need to filter out all the other noise so you can focus on the one. You need to be quieted you might say in your spirit so you can hear the voice of God. And, there are times that God will bring people into your life to quiet you down just as Caleb quieted the children of Israel down, at least he tried to.

            It is as this story illustrates for us regarding hearing those things that are important and not letting other things distract us. We are told that:

Mt. Everest. Suffering from a degenerative eye disease, he lost his sight when he was 13, but that didn't stop him. On a mountain where 90 percent of climbers never make it to the top—and 165 have died trying since 1953—Erik succeeded, in large measure because he listened well.

He listened to the little bell tied to the back of the climber in front of him, so he would know what direction to go.

He listened to the voice of teammates who would shout back to him, "Death fall two feet to your right!" so he would know what direction not to go.

He listened to the sound of his pick jabbing the ice, so he would know whether the ice was safe to cross.

When we take a perilous journey, listening well can make all the difference.

-Preaching Today

            And folks, it can happen as we gather around others and we listen to their doom and gloom stories and drown out the voice of God, be careful! Paul warns us in Hebrews 2:1,Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  In other words, pay attention to the voice of God and don’t be carried away by the things you have heard or seen. Listen to the voice of God by spending some quiet time with Him so He can direct you!


            Next we see Caleb exhort the people to go NOW into the land that God has promised them, don’t lose HOPE!  In Numbers 14:6-9, as the other spies discouraged the people, Joshua and Caleb gave them this exhortation, But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they 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.” Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’

            You see, the issue was not the giants in the land. The issue was not the fortified cities in the land. The issue was not how strong the enemy was in this land. The issue was not that the enemy filled the land. The real issue is that God has promised them this land and He will not go back on His promise. In Numbers 23:19 we are told of this, God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  Thus, what God has promised them He is more than able to bring it to pass and if He has promised this to them He will bring it to pass because God does not lie!

            When did God promise them this land? Way back in Genesis 15:13-16 we are told,Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’  God is speaking to Abraham that after they have been in bondage for 400 years down in Egypt He will bring them out and into the land of Canaan, the Promise Land!

            Still not sure about this, then look at Exodus 3:7-8 as the Lord speaks to Moses, and we are told, And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.’ Where is God going to bring the children of Israel? Into the land of Canaan and this was spoken when they were still slaves in Egypt! Also, in Exodus 13:5 we are told, And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.  Thus, God has made a promise to them, they will go in and possess the land of Canaan, it is a done deal in God’s eyes!

            Thus, Caleb quieted the people and now he is exhorting them to go in and take the land that the Lord has given to them! I know over the years that people have exhorted me to go farther, to go further, to take those steps of faith, and I am so thankful that God brought them into my life. Folks, I am sure you have had people in your life that have encouraged you to go farther, to take those steps of faith and what a blessing they have been to you. We all need people in our lives like that but most of all we need the exhortation, the encouragement of God as we look at His promises to us and believe them by faith!

            Listen to this true story and you will see what I mean about exhortation, encouragement and what it can do in our lives. We are told:

Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, Germany. Just the year before, he had set three world records in one day. He was the record holder for the running broad jump with 26 feet 8 1/4 inches—a record that would stand for 25 years.

As he walked to the long jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue-eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26 foot range. Owens was nervous. He was aware of the tension created with his presence. He knew the Nazi's desire was to prove Aryan "superiority," especially over the blacks.

The pressure was overwhelming, and on his first jump Owens inadvertently leaped from several inches beyond the takeoff board. Rattled, he fouled on the second attempt, too. He was only one foul away from being eliminated.

At this point, the tall German approached Owens and introduced himself as Luz Long. Then an amazing event took place. The black son of a sharecropper and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted in view of the entire stadium. What were they talking about?

Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet 5 1/2 inches, Long suggested making a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jumping from there, just to play it safe. Amazing! At the beginning of World War II, this model of Germany's strength was providing technical assistance and words of encouragement to a foe both on and off the field.

Owens qualified easily. In the finals, he set an Olympic record and earned the second of four gold medals during the 1936 Olympics. The first person to congratulate Owens was Luz Long—in full view of Adolf Hitler.

Owens never saw Long again, for Long was killed in World War II. "You could melt down all the medals and cups I have," Owens later wrote, "and they wouldn't be plating on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long."

- Ken Sutterfield, The Power of an Encouraging Word pp. 105-106

            In Acts chapter 14 we see an example of Paul exhorting the people. Paul was in Lystra bringing them the Good News of Jesus Christ and there he heals a lame man. That is where the trouble begins. You see, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to town and stirred the people; the multitudes and they stoned Paul, dragging his lifeless body out of the city! Not too encouraging so far, but God is still in control!

            We don’t know for sure if Paul actually died and God raised him from the dead or if he was in a condition that made him appear dead and God healed him, but God did stand Paul back up on his feet and they traveled to Derbe. We then read in Acts 14:21-22, And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’

            How did Paul strengthen the people of God to continue on in the faith? Because some saw what happened to him in Lystra, and he goes back there to share his faith even though they stoned him the last time.  Others heard about what he did and it touched their lives. Also, Paul is basically saying, “Don’t let the things of this world, no matter what they throw at you, stop you from walking by faith and finishing the race that God has set before you!”  After hearing and seeing the faith of Paul in action, because true faith is active, I bet they were fired up!

            Paul, in Hebrews 3:12-13 warns us by saying, Beware, 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 ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  In other words, as Christians we are to exhort each other to continue on in the faith and not be sidetracked through unbelief.  There is no ministry of discouragement, although some may think there is and they have it. But there is the ministry of encouragement, exhortation. That was Caleb, he exhorted the people to go forward and take possession of what God has given to them!


            How important this is, to stay focused on the Lord, not to let things distract you. That is what Caleb was doing. Again, look at what is said in Numbers 14:6-9, “But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they 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.” Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’

            In other words, quiet your spirit. Listen to God. Go in and take the land that God has given to you. Why? Because God has promised it to you and thus, look to Him, be guided by Him, the Shekinah glory or the presence of God!

            Years ago when I ran cross-country in High School, I will never forget some of the lessons my coach taught me.  I remember one race where all of a sudden, in the middle of the race, there was my coach running beside me and yelling at me to keep my eyes focused on the runner in front of me. Why did he say that? Because he did not want me to be distracted by the other things around me but to stay focused on the race and the runner in front of me.

            Years later, when I was still running, not that same race but a 6.2 mile race that went through a forest preserve. And spread throughout the forest, on this race course were musicians playing the violin, the cello, the bass and-so-on and they were all decked out in formal wear playing this music as we were running.  Now, as interesting as it was, I did not stop to listen because I was in a race and I needed to stay focused. How true that is for us today as we are in a race and we can’t let these distractions cause us to drop out. We need to stay focused on the Lord!

            In our own lives it is easy to get distracted and take our eyes off of the Lord.  The solution to the problem is simple, get re-focused on the Lord. There are many precious promises that God has given to us but we can allow the enemy to rob us of the joy we have in the Lord and lose our focus in the situation we face.

            That truly is what happened here with the children of Israel. They let the situation dictate their walk, which was going nowhere and they wanted to go backwards, back to Egypt, back into the world instead of staying focused on the Lord! God had for them a land flowing with milk and honey, a fruitful land, it was theirs, all they needed to do was walk!

            Yes, please understand that I am not downplaying the situations you face, the giants in your life, the difficulties you face. But I am up-playing, if that is a word, that your focus needs to be on the Lord and you need to trust in what He has said in His Word and walk by faith.  Listen carefully to this story and you will see what I mean. We are told:

In 1989 Geoffrey Gorsuch while flying his small plane in the midst of a horrible storm reports that he could barely see 20 feet in front of the plane. On the ground, signals were being transmitted to the five radios and three navigational aids on board the aircraft. . . . These instruments guided us through the storm to the runway. There were moments when the confusion in the clouds could have been fatal, times when all our senses seemed to indicate that the instruments were lying, making panic and pilot error inevitable. But I had been trained to trust the instruments. And I did. . . . As we broke out of the clouds 100 feet off the runway and in a perfect altitude for landing, all that remained to do

was to ease back the power and the stick and let her settle onto the runway. As the emergency vehicles approached with their blaring sirens and flashing lights, I knew they would not be necessary. I had trusted the instruments, I was a pilot -- and that was the day I knew it for sure.

And so it is with God. He has endowed us with spiritual instruments to get us through the storm clouds of the human condition. But do we know how to interpret them? And, having received the message, will we trust it with our very lives? That is the essence of faith.

- Geoff Gorsuch, The Christian Reader, Spring 1990

            Folks, don’t fly by sight but walk by faith. Fly by the instruments, the instruments that God has given to you so you can live that victorious Christian life and walk by faith.  What are these instruments? They are His Spirit and His Word and thus, quiet your spirit and listen to His still small voice. Be encouraged by His promises and by the words of other believers. And keep your eyes focused upon the Lord because if you do you will see that FAITH WALKS!

            Now, with the remainder of our time this morning we are going to look at three points regarding the bad spies.  First, THEY STIRRED THE PEOPLE. Then, THEY DISCOURAGED THE PEOPLE. And lastly, THEY FOCUSED THE PEOPLE ON THE SITUATION. So let’s look at these and see what lessons we can glean in what not to do.



            Instead of quieting the people down, these ten bad spies stirred them up and not in a good way.  Look at Numbers 14:1-4, So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained 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! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’

            Isn’t it amazing how just a few people can stir up thousands, millions of people? They are rejecting the leadership of Moses; they want a new leader who will bring them back to Egypt, back to the world, a life of bondage!  I realize that some don’t believe only a few can do this, but they can.  I am sure you have seen football games where one player on the home team raises his hands and all of a sudden the crowd of 70,000 goes wild, they are cheering, jumping up and down! Folks, that is what we see here with the children of Israel.

            Where are you at this morning? Are you letting a few people or maybe even one person stir you up in a bad way? Are they causing you to lose your focus?  Remember the solution for this anxious heart is to quiet your spirit and focus back on the Lord. Listen to Him!  Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-9, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

            Don’t be anxiously stirred up but give it to the Lord. Let Him calm your emotions and your thoughts as you fill yourself up with the things of God! Remember what Paul said would happen if we do these things, that the God of peace will be with you. Thus, may you do this and not be stirred up by the faithless!


            They not only stirred the people up, these ten bad spies also discouraged them. “It’s bad. We are going to die! The land is great but we will never see it!”  And you can go on-and-on with words of discouragement. It is like a snowball rolling down a hill, it will get bigger and bigger, consuming everything in its path and discouragement will grow in your life, consuming it!

            Folk’s, God does use difficult situations in our lives to help us to grow, to stretch our faith. George Mueller put it like this as he wrote:

God delights to increase the faith of His children...I say, and say it deliberately—trials, difficulties and sometimes defeat, are the very food of faith...We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.

- George Mueller

            Over the years I have had those that have encouraged me but also I have had those people who have tried to discourage me. And I do have to admit, there were times that I listened to those discouragers until the Lord got me refocused! I don’t know how else to put it except like this: “DON’T LET PEOPLE DISCOURAGE YOU TO NOT WALK WHERE GOD IS CALLING YOU TO WALK, WHAT HE HAS PROMISED TO GIVE TO YOU!” And if you are in the ministry of discouragement, get out of it and do something good for the Lord just as Joshua and Caleb were doing!


            Folks, anytime we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on the situation, we will be discouraged, we will be at a standstill or progress backwards in our walk with the Lord! Yes, a lot of what these ten bad spies said was true, but there was also much exaggeration and they lost the focus of who is on the throne and it was not the god of this world or the situation they were facing, but it was and is ALMIGHTY GOD!

            That is the perspective we need to have and it was the perspective that the children of Israel lost. They needed to focus on the Lord! You see, when our eyes are focused upon Him, then all things are possible, and when they are not, then nothing is possible!

            To sum this up this morning, faith walks while unbelief doesn’t! That is as simple as it gets. Let me show you what I mean by having you turn to Matthew chapter 14 and lets begin reading in verse 22, where it says, Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying,  ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’  Matthew 14:22-33.

            Now, in reading this most people focus on Peter and how he stepped out of the boat and sank and they put him down for his lack of faith.  Yes, his faith was weak, but at least he had faith. You see, the way I look at this is that Peter’s faith caused him to step out of the boat, not perfect faith, but some faith and in the midst of the storm, when he let the situation cause him to take his eyes off of Jesus, he sank.  But keep in mind that they were some 3 miles out on the Sea of Galilee and the Lord called him to step out of the boat and walk on water and Peter did!

            The other 11 men stood in the boat, that is dead faith!  The Lord said, “Come!” And they must have thought, “Are you kidding me?  Let Peter go. I guess one dead is better than all 12 of us!”  Thus, their unbelief caused them not to walk!

            To illustrate dead faith, “It is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says, ‘I’m sure they’re correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it.’ But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn’t lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won’t take it. That’s dead faith.” James 2:20.

- Dr. Harlan Roper, Tape on James, Dallas, Texas

            As I close this morning my prayer is that you would walk by faith and not by sight. That you would quiet your spirit so that you can hear from God.  That you would be exhorted to take those steps of faith. And that you would not focus upon the situation but upon the Lord who is bigger than all of our situations put together! He can handle it!  Thus, FAITH WALKS!

            Let me leave you with these words from Spurgeon to spur you on to continue in the walk of faith. He wrote:

            I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water is poor faith at best. It is little better than a dry-land faith, and is not good for much.

- C. H. Spurgeon

            May we walk the walk of faith trusting in the Lord every step of the way and see what the Lord has for us as we walk in that Spirit-filled life, the life of the Promise Land! FAITH WALKS!

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