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Text: Numbers 13 & 14; Deuteronomy 1
In the book of Numbers chapter 13 & 14 we read God ordering Moses to choose 12 leaders from each tribe and send them to spy on the land of Canaan. Moses instructed them to find the nature of the country, its population and military strength, degree of fertility and physical security. He also asked them to bring some of the fruits that grow there. (It was the season when Grapes were beginning to ripe) Twelve spies spied the land and their observations were same. They found that the land is rich and fertile, (Numbers 13:23-27) and that the inhabitants of Canaan are stronger and they live in cities that are very large and fortified, (Numbers 13:28-29).
But this is where the similarities end. Chapter 13 says except for Caleb and Joshua every one else had already thrown up the cards. Why did the spies act so weirdly? They were controlled by their defeated attitudes. When you perceive something in a certain way it is called your personal attitude. There are defeating attitudes and Winning attitudes.
Let me show you why we must take away the defeated attitudes.
1. Defeated attitude hinders God’s blessing
- God promised to give a land flowing with milk and honey, but the spies didn’t trust God to fulfill his promise. They were controlled by what they perceived through their natural eyes, (Numbers 13:31).
- Defeated attitudes offend God. The spies foretasted the land’s goodness, but they didn’t live to possess it because they mocked God and called for his wrath, (Numbers 14:20-23).
2. Defeated attitude conceives anxiety and insecurity
- The spies left in confidence, with a spirit of adventure; but they returned in fear, groveling before men, no longer fearful of God, (Deuteronomy 1:28).
- The whole camp wept because of anxiety, disappointment, betrayal, frustration and insecurity that overwhelmed them, (Numbers 14:1). Everyone wanted to appoint a new leader and go back to Egypt, (Numbers 14:4).
3. Defeated attitude is the root of unbelief
- They ceased to trust in the Lord, (Deuteronomy 1:32-33)
- The Anakites (who were of large size) were now said to be ‘Nephilims’, the race of giants described briefly in Genesis 6:4.
- The exaggeration of their futileness led them to loose their faith in God, by comparing themselves as ‘grass hoppers’ (Numbers 13:33).
Now let me show you why you need to entertain a winning attitude
4. Winning attitude opens up your spiritual eyes, (Numbers 13:30)
- Now Joshua and Caleb had a different view on the situation. They had a correct assessment of enemy’s strength. But they knew no one can defeat God’s people (Deuteronomy 1:29-31).
- They didn’t express any fear. Rather they encouraged the crowd.
5. Winning attitude is the mark of a godly leader
- Bible says that God was pleased with Joshua and Caleb (Deuteronomy 1:35-36).
- Joshua became Moses’ successor. He led Israelites in to great victories in the battle field and possessed the entire land of Canaan.
6. Application and conclusion
- Maintain a winning attitude regardless of circumstances.
While preparing this sermon I wondered why God wanted Moses to send spies to observe the land of Canaan. God knows everything. He could have told Moses every little secret about the city and could have guided him and the children of Israel towards victory. I believe it was because God wanted to test the attitude of his people and bring them to a place of matured faith.
We know that God allows you and me to go through such circumstances before we can actually be blessed. The question is how we react to such issues? Do you feel defeated, disappointed, frustrated, anxious and insecure? Or do you trust in God and his power? Consider the big picture instead of the immediate circumstances. This is the kind of reaction people with winning attitude generate. Just like Joshua and Caleb did trust in the Lord and His power, remember that he is faithful to keep his promises.
- Think before you leap.
An essential quality of the winning attitude is reacting with a prudent spirit. The disobedient spies had not only a defeated attitude but also an imprudent spirit. Later on they went to conquer the promise land on their own strength despite God’s warning, and lost the battle (Numbers 14:40-45).
It is natural to feel nervous when we walk through hardships. We become nervous and start reacting to situations in our own strength, forgetting that God is in control of everything. Therefore here after when you meet strong holds standing on your way seek to be strengthen in God. When you do, you will see beyond what you see. This is why the author of Proverbs said,
trust in the Lord with all your heart, shun evil, do not lean on your own knowledge and acknowledge the mighty one in everything you do (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?
Attitudes are extremely powerful. Therefore defeated attitudes have a disastrous influence on others. Probably the Israel community was formed by over 1 Million adults. According to Numbers 14:36, isn’t it unbelievable how just 10 ordinary people caused 1 million people to stone Moses, Joshua and Caleb.
Pastors… Hello? Does this sound familiar? One spoiled person in the congregation motivates the entire church to rebel against you. Therefore I want to urge everyone who is reading this, never ever give room to defeated attitudes in your life. I would like to summarize this sermon in a one single phrase.