We Are Not Able: A Look at Numbers 13:25-33

and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…” ~Exodus 14_13,

Read Numbers 13:25-33.

“And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.

The twelve spies had obeyed and gone out to the promised land as they were told (Numbers 13:2, 17).

Now 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.

Again they obeyed. They brought back a report as Moses had instructed them (Numbers 13:19) and they returned with fruit, like he commanded (Numbers 13:20).

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.

They saw the land that God had promised them and it was exactly as He had said — flowing with milk and honey. Truly. However…

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. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

…there are too many obstacles. {We} can not take possession of what the Lord has promised.

Then 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.”

Caleb knew they were able because they had God on their side. God. It didn’t matter what was on the other side because they had God and they didn’t (Exodus 14:9). God who is mighty, who is just, who keeps His word, who is never changing and never deterred.

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.”


“We are not able…”

Their focus was misplaced. They were right, they could not, but they forgot their history. They forgot all the times that they essentially had to do nothing, only sit back and watch, as God intervened for them.

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. 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.””

They trusted in their own reasoning over God’s faithfulness. God had not let them down yet, however, there they were expecting Him to do just that — let them down, betray them, go back on His word. And so they retreated. They dug their heels in and refused to go any further. They wept and mourned the defeat they were predicting. They grumbled and complained and wished they were dead (Exodus 14:2). They rebelled and feared and wanted to flee (Exodus 14:4). They didn’t understand see or understand what God was doing.

God was using those 40 days of spying to test their faith. Did they take God at His word or not? Was He truly going to give them the promised land or not? Did they believe that God could defy human logic? Did they believe He could and would move the obvious obstacles in the path to His promise? Did they believe that He would act on their behalf, or did they believe that they need to handle situation on their own?

You see, we (or is it just me?) are not much different than these ancient Israelites. We doubt God’s promises. So He tests our faith. We fail to take the next small step of faith. So He tests our faith. We refuse to believe that He is able. So He tests our faith.

He does this, not to bring guilt and shame for our inability to believe better, but make us realize that we, like the Israelites, have misplaced trust.

God is constantly moving, working, accomplishing on your behalf. He tests and we are stretched. He moves and we benefit. We may be deterred, but He never is. So..

“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today… The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” ~Exodus 14:13, 14

Where are you on the path to His promises? Where is your focus? Where is your faith? Who are you truly trusting? Is it time to refocus and pray I believe, but help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)?

God is there for you. I promise. But don’t take my word for it, take His.

“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” ~‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭7:9‬


Please remember that I am human and flawed and my thoughts on this passage and others may not always be right. Please hold what I write up against the Word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you directly.

Only by grace,

Untitled design

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: