05/17/Su – The Faithless and the Faithful

Numbers 13:1-33; Mark 14:32-52; Psalms 53:1-5; Proverbs 15:15-17

OT: “The Lord spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel… When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes… At the end of forty days they returned from scouting out the land… They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there… Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. We even saw the Nephilim there — the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”” (‭‭Numbers‬ ‭13:1-3, 17-20, 25, 27-28, 30-33‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

God had Moses send a small representation of leaders into the promised land to scout it out and see what the land was like. More than anything, It was to confirm that the land was truly good and plentiful. It should have been a faith-building exercise. Moses wanted them to bring back some fruit from the land as motivation. His instruction to the 12 men was “Be courageous.” Unfortunately, most of the men were not courageous. Instead of confirming that all that God had said about the land was true, and encouraging the Israelites; 10 of the 12 men brought news of danger and difficulty, and discouraged the Israelites. There were giants in the land. After all the things that the leaders had witnessed… all the ways God had done the miraculous to lead them through the impossible, the 10 leaders were still looking at things based on their own abilities. They didn’t even bring God into the equation. They saw the giants and compared the giants to themselves, and considered themselves grasshoppers compared to the giants. Caleb, on the other hand, saw the giants and compared the giants to God. With God in the equation, Caleb was confident that Israel could conquer the land, for the giants were like grasshoppers compared to God. Do we have faith in ourselves, or do we have faith in God? Are we faithless or faithful?

NT: “Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.” Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭14:32-38‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The task ahead of Jesus was immense. Before Him was a day of complete and utter torture, physically, emotionally, and spiritually… and by the end of the day, He would be dead. Everything in His flesh was crying out, “Don’t do it.” Yet, Jesus did not place His faith in Himself. He placed His faith in His Father and would follow His Father all the way to a tortuous death. If the Father couldn’t save humanity any other way, then Jesus would place His faith in the Father and endure until the end. Jesus’ Spirit was willing to be obedient and faithful, but His flesh was weak – so He prayed – and received the strength He needed. He challenged Peter to do the same. Peter was about to be sifted by the enemy and his faith was about to be challenged beyond his flesh’s ability to endure… so Jesus told him to pray. When God calls us to do hard and challenging things… things we really don’t want to do, do we listen to our flesh, or do we persevere through faith-filled prayer?

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