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Chinese5/28/2005English
經文:民數記十三章至十四章
鑰節:「迦勒……說,我們立刻上去得那地吧!我們足能得勝。」(13︰30)
提要

        摩西本來計畫從西乃直上迦南,但計畫被徹底的改變了。在申命記一章十九至廿四節,摩西對整個經過提供了詳盡的背景資料。我們從那段經文中曉得,先窺探迦南地是百姓的主意,摩西應允他們的請求,上帝也准許他們這麼做,可能是要試驗他們的信心,但以色列人完全失敗了。

        從各支派中(利未支派除外)選出來的十二位首領被派去走遍迦南地,給以色列人作詳細的報告,並帶些當地的水果回來。這趟探險並非必要,也表現出他們缺乏信心,因為上帝早已經把他們所需要知道的都告訴他們了(出3︰8;參結20︰6)。以色列民應當相信上帝的應許,祂必會在他們前頭行,將那地賜給他們。

        四十天後,十二位探子完成使命回到百姓當中,起先,他們都同意那塊地是「流奶與蜜之地」(13︰27),他們也帶回證據證明該地的肥沃(13︰23)。然而,談到當地的居民和武力,探子當中形成了對立的兩派,其中十人由於害怕、對上帝沒有信心,而認為迦南地的居民對以色列人來說太強壯了;他們的報告很誇張︰「我們看見巨人……我們就像蚱蜢一樣」。這些膽怯的人報沮喪的信息,使全以色列會眾大為恐懼,進而大發怨言,甚至想要再回到埃及地!難道他們這麼快就忘了被奴役的痛苦以及上帝為他們所行的神蹟嗎﹖

        只有迦勒和約書亞相信上帝能使他們得勝,佔領迦南地。他們有不凡的信心和勇氣,但卻與大多數人的意見相左。大多數人所相信的不一定對,真理也不一定經常受到歡迎。今天的信徒有時可能會發現自己在工作單位、家庭、或學校堜t單的為上帝奮戰,不要灰心︰「上帝若幫助我們,誰能敵擋我們呢﹖」(羅8︰31)。祂「使我們藉著我們的主耶穌基督得勝」(林前15︰57);雖然患難是可預期的,但耶穌說︰「你們可以放心,我已經勝了世界」(約16︰33)。

        迦勒和約書亞企圖說服以色列人不要害怕,但他們的努力完全無效。全會眾向他們發怒,甚至建議要另立領袖帶他們回埃及。這個提議實際上等於是拒絕上帝。要不是上帝伸手干預,保護摩西、亞倫、迦勒和約書亞,他們恐怕早就被會眾用石頭打死了(14︰10)。

        上帝因以色列人的悖逆和不信向他們發怒,實為理所當然。就像在金牛犢事件中一樣,上帝再次表示祂要滅掉這群惡民,使他們不得承受迦南地,並要從摩西的後裔中另立選民(14︰12;出32︰10)。摩西也再度為以色列人代求,情詞比以前更迫切;他求上帝顧及自己的名、榮耀和在外邦中的見證,寬恕以色列人。他甚至引用上帝述及自己憐憫、恩慈屬性的話來禱告(14︰17~9;參出34︰6;20︰5~6),上帝才赦免了以色列人。認識上帝的話很重要,如此我們的信心才會更堅定,站穩在祂的應許上。

        以色列人必須為他們的不信付出慘重的代價,但上帝的審判是公正的。那些不聽摩西警告的愚頑人,在沒有上帝同行的情況下自作主張的上山去與迦南地人爭戰,結果慘遭不可避免的失敗(14︰42~45)。惟有當上帝與我們同在時,我們才能在屬靈的爭戰中得勝。雖然應許之地已近在眼前,但以色列卻必須回到曠野漂流四十年,所有在人口普查中(14︰29~30;1︰45~46)被數點的男丁都將倒斃在曠野。多麼悲慘啊!那一世代的男丁中,只有迦勒和約書亞蒙上帝祝福得以進入迦南,信心得到賞賜。

禱告

        主啊,賜給我們勇氣大膽的與您一同前進。但願我們不倚靠自己的聰明,而在凡事上認定您,您應許必要指引我們的路(箴3︰5~6)。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Numbers 13 & 14
Key Verse:“Caleb… said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’”(Numbers 13:30 )
Overview

        Moses had planned to go directly into Canaan from Sinai, but those plans were changed drastically. In Deuteronomy 1:19-24, Moses gave more background information about what had happened. We learn that it was the people’s idea to first spy out the land before entering. Moses complied and the Lord allowed it, possibly as a test of faith, but they desperately failed.

        The twelve able men, a leader from each tribe (except Levi), were chosen to go throughout the land and bring back a detailed report, as well as a sample of the fruit. This expedition was not really necessary, and it displayed a lack of faith, for God had already told them all they needed to know (Ex.3:8; cf. Exek.20:6). The people should have believed His promise that He would go before them and give them the land.

        The mission was successfully accomplished and after forty days the spies returned. At first their report was in agreement concerning the land: “It truly flows with milk and honey” (13:27), meaning it was very fertile, and they brought proof, (13:23). However, concerning the inhabitants and their strength, it was ten against two. The ten, because of fear and lack of faith in God, said the people of the land were too strong for them and exaggerated the report saying, “we saw giants… and we were like grasshoppers” (13:33). These fearful men brought discouragement and instilled hear into the hearts of all the people who then complained bitterly, even to the point of wishing to return to Egypt! Had they forgotten so soon their sorrow in slavery (Ec.2:23) and the miracles of God?

        Only Caleb and Joshua trusted in God that it was possible to be victorious and possess the land. These remarkable men of faith and courage boldly stood up against the majority opinion. Truly, the majority is not always right, and the truth is not often popular. Believers today may find themselves standing alone for the Lord at work, home, or school, but do not be discouraged: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom.8:31). He “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57), and although we can expect trials to come our way, Jesus said, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

        Caleb’s and Joshua’s attempts to persuade the Israelites not to fear proved futile (14:8-9), The people became angry and even suggested they should choose another leader to take them back to Egypt (14:4). This was, in fact, a rejection of God, and if it had not been for His intervention in protecting Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb, they would have been stoned (14:10).

        The Lord’s anger was justifiably stirred against Israel for their disobedience and faithlessness. As it was with their sin of the golden calf, God once again expressed His desire to destroy and disinherit the sinful Israelites and raise up a new chosen nation through Moses (14:12; Ex.32:10). Once again, Moses, even more fervently than before, interceded on their behalf; he even pleaded for God’s own Name’s sake and His glory and testimony among the heathen nations (14:13-16). In his appeal, after which pardon was granted, Moses quoted God’s own words about His merciful and forgiving nature (14:17-19); cf. Ex.34:6; 20:5-6). It is important to know the Word of God that we might stand more firmly in our faith and upon His promises.

        The Israelites had paid a grave penalty for their disbelief, but the Lord’s judgment was just. Those foolish ones who did not heed Moses’ warning disobediently entered the land to fight without the Lord; they suffered the inevitable consequence (14:42-45). Success in spiritual warfare is attained only when the Lord is with us. How tragic that though they were within sight of the Promised Land, they were to turn back to the wilderness where they would remain for forty years, and where death would come upon all those men who had been numbered in the census (14:29-30; 1:45-46), except Caleb and Joshua, whom the Lord blessed and rewarded for their faithfulness.

Prayer

        O Lord, grant us the courage to move boldly forward with You. May we not lean unto our own understanding, but acknowledge You in all our ways, and You have promised to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5, 6).


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