Numbers 13:30
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "We must go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly conquer it!"
A Campaign for GodD. L. Moody.Numbers 13:30
Caleb's SpiritJ. Parker, D. D.Numbers 13:30
Difficulties in the WayJ. Parker, D. D.Numbers 13:30
Difficulties May be OvercomeNumbers 13:30
Good Witnesses for GodW. Attersoll.Numbers 13:30
The Ancient Canaan a Type of HeavenSketches of Four Hundred SermonsNumbers 13:30
The Decision and Exertion Incumbent Upon Christians in All ThingsW. H. Cooper.Numbers 13:30
The Magnanimous Character and Wisdom of CalebW. Mudge.Numbers 13:30
The SpiesW. Binnie Numbers 13:1-33
Conflicting CounselsD. Young Numbers 13:30-33
The report has been received, such as it is, and the next question comes: What shall be done? "Caleb stilled the people before Moses." This intimates the excitement and turbulence of their feeling. The chances are that a good deal of disparagement of Canaan had come to their ears, losing nothing as it passed from one tongue to another. Notice the temporary effacement, as it were, of Moses. It is Caleb who here takes the lead. Moses is nothing save as the mouth-piece of God, and the time is not quite ripe for God to speak. But Caleb, who, here as afterwards, shows himself a courageous man, prompt and ready, has formed his opinion, and at once expresses it; to be immediately followed by opinions just as decided in the opposite direction. We need not here so much to consider who was right and who wrong; God himself brings all out presently into the clearest of light. The great matter to be noticed is that the people were now exposed to conflicting counsels.

I. THESE CONFLICTING COUNSELS WERE THE CONSEQUENCE OF BACKSLIDING FROM GOD. The people had turned away from their true Guide, and the consequence of being in a wrong path very soon appears. God is one, and in his infinite wisdom and power can make all things work together for good to them that love him, and are called according to his purpose. But men are many and diverse, and if those who are called according to his purpose fad from the obedience which shows their love, how shall they make things work together for good? To God the scheme of human affairs is as a machine, complicated and intricate indeed, but well under control, and producing large results. To men it is, more or less, a maze of motions. They understand it a little in parts, but are hopelessly divided as to the meaning and service of the whole.

II. THE PREPONDERANCE IN THESE CONFLICTING COUNSELS WAS AGAINST THE COURSE WHICH GOD HAD ALREADY LAID OUT. God had promised the land, kept it before the people, and brought them to the very verge; yet ten out of twelve men - responsible men in the tribes, men who had journeyed through the land for forty days - declared that it was beyond the strength of Israel to obtain. What a satire on vox populi vox Dei! What a humbling revelation of the motives that work most powerfully in unregenerate human nature I How easy it is to exaggerate difficulties when one's heart is not in a work; to see, not everything that is to be seen, but only what the eye wants to see, and to see in a particular way! It is a part of spiritual prudence to reckon that, whatever strength there may be in mere numbers, in brute force and material appliances, they cannot be counted on in advancing the kingdom of God. With all these resources heaped up around them, craven spirits will still cry out that there is a lion in the way.

III. IT IS EVERYTHING TO RECOLLECT THAT THERE WERE CONFLICTING COUNSELS. Cowardice, carnality, and backsliding did not altogether get their own way. Things were bad enough, but after all Caleb and Joshua counted for a great deal on the other side. We must not only count men, but weigh them. There are times when it is no credit to men, when it says but little for their piety or their humanity, that they are found among majorities. It is the glory of God's cause on earth that it never loses its hold on at least a few. There is always a Caleb to fling to the wind considerations of base expediency. - Y.

Let us go up at once, and possess it.
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.

1. It was a promised land, and the right of possession was founded on the promise.

2. It was a land in which God was peculiarly present.

3. It was a land of fruition.

4. It was a free gift.


1. There are formidable foes to be encountered. The corrupt heart, the evil world, and that apostate spirit, the devil.

2. There are adversaries in timid and faint-hearted associates.

3. The Israelites in their progress were made dependent on the Lord for all things.


1. The title to it is sure. It is pledged in Christ; as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. He is our Joshua and is gone to take possession for us.

2. We have means and ordinances by which needed strength is supplied, and we are invited and enjoined to feed in the spiritual manner, and to drink of the spiritual rock.

3. Here we have many foretastes of the good land.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

1. The kingdom of heaven challenges the inquiry of all men. It addresses an appeal to human reason, and to human trust. Though itself a revelation, and therefore not to be handled as a common thing, nor to be tested by common instruments, yet Christianity invites the most careful inquest. It does not seek to rest upon the human intellect as a burden, but to shine upon it as a light. ]f Christianity may be represented under the image of a land, such as ancient Canaan, then it is fair to say of it, that it offers right of way over its hills and through its valleys, that its fruits and flowers are placed at the disposal of all travellers, and that he who complains that the land is shut against him speaks not only ungratefully but most falsely.

2. Different reports will, of course, be brought by the inquirers. The result of the survey will be according to the peculiarities of the surveyors. As streams are impregnated by the soils over which they flow, so subjects are affected by the individualism of the minds through which they pass. Thus Christianity may be said to be different things to different minds. To the speculative man it is a great attempt to solve deep problems in theology; to the controversialist it is a challenge to debate profound subjects on new ground; to the poet it is a dream, a wondrous vision many-coloured as the rainbow, a revelation many-voiced as the tunes of the wind or the harmonies of the sea.(1) Some inquirers will see all the hindrances.(2) All will confess that there is something good in the laud.(3) Those who hold back by reason of the difficulties will come to a miserable end.

(a)We don't escape by false reasoning.

(b)We don't escape by fear.Application:

1. Some have shown the spirit of Caleb — what is voter testimony?

2. Will you resolve, in Divine strength, to follow the Lord fully?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. The passage serves to illustrate THE BELIEVER'S DUTY IN GENERAL. "Go forward." This is the command of God to His people, with reference to every obligation that devolves upon them, and at every critical moment, amidst all our difficulties we encounter from the world. Nothing but this heroism will suit the dignity and the decision of Christian character.

II. The passage serves to illustrate THE MORE SPECIAL DUTY OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD WITH REFERENCE TO MISSIONARY EXERTION. And that I conceive to be one of the pressing duties of the Church of Christ in the present day.

(W. H. Cooper.)

1. He "stilled the people." Stillness engenders thoughtfulness.

2. He seeks to secure unity of faith. "Let us go up."

3. Promptness. "At once."

4. He directs their minds to their ability.Conclusion: The world belongs to Christ by creation and by preservation. In God's name the Church may claim Christ's prerogative for the conquest of the world.

(W. Mudge.)

I. GOD HATH EVER HAD SOME WITNESSES OF HIS TRUTH Nicodemus. Joseph of Arimathea. And how can it be otherwise, for the truth shall never decay from the earth, but be spread abroad from place to place, and from generation to generation for ever (Psalm 119:89). We perish, for all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man is as the flower of the field, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:24). God will have this never to die, never to wither. He hath the hearts of all men in His own hand, to turn them at His pleasure (Acts 9:15). So saith Christ, "I tell you if these should hold their peace, the stones would cry" (Luke 19:40), and therefore He can never be without some witness to maintain His truth.

1. This teacheth us that God is most glorious and powerful, and will be known in the earth (Psalm 8:1, 2; Matthew 21:15; Acts 14:17).

2. Great is His truth and prevaileth; He hath always had a Church upon the face of the earth, and He never forsaketh it, though multitudes conspire against it, it shall have the upper hand at last.

3. Be not discouraged when the truth is oppressed, because God is able to maintain it, and raiseth up His enemies oftentimes to defend it.

4. This should persuade every one of us how to carry ourselves, namely, that we should not take any approbation or liking of the evil of other, neither ought we to imitate any in sin, how holy soever they seem to be, neither give consent to them by our practice, forasmuch as God's hand hath overtaken them at one time or other.


1. Whatsoever is in itself evil cannot be made good and lawful by any example, nor by many examples. It cannot be warranted by the law of man, much less by the pure law of God Himself.

2. No greatness, no multitude can save a man from judgments due to the least sin; for though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished (Proverbs 5; Proverbs 11:21). This serveth to reprove many carnal and formal Christians that oftentimes encourage themselves in evil, and strengthen themselves by the example of others.

3. We may gather from hence a reproof of ignorant recusants grounding only upon their forefathers; such as can give no other reason of their religion but that they were born and bred in it (Psalm 78:8).


1. We are quickly hardened in sin. We are quickly dull to all good; exhortation made by others setteth an edge upon us, and putteth life into us (Proverbs 27:17).

2. Such as continue to the end are made partakers of Christ, and with Him of all other graces; this ought to provoke us to practise this duty, the rather seeing so great fruit cometh by it, the blessing of all blessings, Christ Jesus is made ours (Hebrews 3:13, 14).

3. We have other reasons used by the same apostle (Hebrews 10:25, 26). Fearful judgments remain for all backsliders.

4. The day of the Lord draweth near, and we must take heed that it take us not unprepared; we must therefore stir up ourselves and others to look for it and to long after it. Lastly, we see evil men do it in evil and to evil. They labour by all means to make others as bad as themselves. This also we see in this place, much more therefore ought we to teach and instruct one another, and be helpers to the most holy faith one of another.

(W. Attersoll.)

The Israelites sent twelve spies into Paran and Kadesh to reconnoitre. I suppose they wanted to see if God's word was true. That's always the way with unbelievers. God had said to them, "Go over. I'll help you. It will be yours. It's a land flowing with milk and honey. All you've got to do is to go and take it." But they thought they would first find out for themselves what it was worth, and whether they would be able to take it. They brought back what we would call in these days a majority and minority report. Ten said that it would be impossible to take the country. All admitted that what God had told them was true about the milk and honey. Only Caleb and Joshua confirmed the Lord in regard to taking the land. All admitted that the land was good, but ten said they saw giants, and walls, and castles, and that the Israelites would not be able to overcome these. I can imagine these fellows in camp, telling their comrades that they had stood alongside these giants, and had been obliged to look up to see their faces, and that they were to them but as grasshoppers. When we believe, we are able to overcome giants, and walls and everything. A lie generally travels faster than the truth. It is an old saying that a lie will go round the world before the truth can get his boots on to follow him. The world always seems to rejoice whenever anything goes wrong with religion. So thus he went round the camp and found favour with the Jews. "I would rather go back to Egypt and make bricks without straw again. I would rather hear the crack of the slaveholder's whip again, than encounter these terrors." That's the way the Israelites talked, and that is the talk of the unbeliever. I am one of the spies sent out to look at the promised land. I have found it flowing with milk and honey. Let us say whether we fear anything now. Let us go up at once and take the land. I tell you that it is good. If Caleb's voice had prevailed, the Israelites might have saved forty years in the wilderness. To-day I say that four-fifths of the professed children are not able to reach the land, simply on account of their unbelief. Many persons have told me that I mustn't expect so great a success as I had in the old country. If I don't expect it, I won't have it. We must go at once and take the land. We are able to do it. "Their defence has gone from them." How easy it is for God to pour out His blessings in such profusion that we will not be able to receive them. That was the difference between Caleb and Joshua and the ten. The ten got their eyes on the walls and the giants, but Caleb and Joshua lifted theirs above and saw Him on His throne. They said that it was easy for God to give them that country as He promised. They remembered how easily He had taken them across the Red Sea; how He had fed them with manna in the wilderness, and how He had made the water gush forth from the barren rock. If God wishes to aid you, then you are well able to go up and take the land. That is the difference between a man who has God with him, and the one who has not. The greatest difficulty we have to encounter is, therefore, the unbelief so current among Christians. Oh, would that God would sweep it away! Our God is able to do it. Let us not limit the power of the Holy One of Israel. Look upward and see Him who sitteth on the right hand of God, and press forward.

(D. L. Moody.)

Was Caleb, then, a giant — larger than any of the sons of Anak? Was he a Hercules and a Samson in one? Was his arm so terrific that every stroke of it was a conquest? We are not told so; the one thing we are told about Caleb is that he was a man of "another spirit." That determines the quality of the man. Character is a question of spirit. It is an affair of inward and spiritual glow. Caleb had been upon the preliminary search; Caleb had seen the walls, and the Anakim, and the fortresses, and he came back saying, We can do this, not because we have so many arms only, or so many resources of a material kind, but because he was a man of "another spirit." In the long run, spirit wins; in the outcome of all history, spirit will be uppermost. The great battles of life are not controversies of body against body, but, as far as God is in them, they are a question of spirit against body, thought against iron, prayer against storming and blustering of boastful men. While the cloud hangs over the field, and the dust of the strife is very thick, and the tumult roars until it deafens those who listen, we cannot see the exact proportions, colours, and bearings of things; but if we read history instead of studying the events of the day which have not yet settled themselves into order and final meaning, we shall discover that spirit is mightier than body, that "knowledge is power," that "righteousness exalteth a nation," and that they who bear the white banner of a pure cause ultimately triumph because God is with them.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

"It is impossible!" said some, when Peter the Great determined on a voyage of discovery; and the cold and uninhabited region over which he reigned furnished nothing but some larch-trees to construct his vessels. But, though the iron, the cordage, the sails, and all that was necessary, except the provisions for victualling them, were to be carried through the immense deserts of Siberia, down rivers of difficult navigation, and along roads almost impassable, the thing was done; for the command of the sovereign and the perseverance of the people surmounted every obstacle.

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