In this morning's text we find Moses addressing the nation of Israel just prior to their entry into the Promised Land. Moses recounts the failure of ten good men some forty years earlier. Of the twelve men chosen to spy out the land in numbers 13, we only remember Joshua and Caleb. What about the other ten men? They were good men, or else they wouldn't have been chosen. They had been chosen because of their abilities and qualifications. Yet when they returned from their mission they had utterly failed! Why should we concern ourselves with the failure of these ten men so long ago? I believe it is important for us to consider these men and their failure because good people are still making the same mistakes that these men made. Think about the people you know who "used to be" faithful servants of the lord. Where are they now? Why aren't they serving god today? Why have they failed? Another reason we should consider the failure of these men is found in Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth.
(1 Corinthians 10:11-12) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
God has given us the account of the failure of these men that we might take heed and learn from it to prevent our own failure
I. Failed Because Of Discouragement.
(Deuteronomy 1:28) Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
A. They were not grounded in the Word.
1 God had warned them about fear and discouragement.
(Deuteronomy 1:21) Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
2 He had clearly spoken, but they had not listened.
(Deuteronomy 1:30) The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
3. If people were grounded in the Word of God they wouldn't have a problem obeying it!
B. They didn't follow God's plan.
1. Too often we think we can do the work of God in our own strength.
2. Time and time again I am reminded of the importance of following instructions.
3. God's instructions for our lives are written down for us to follow.
4. God isn't interested in our plan; He wants us to faithfully follow His!
C. They didn't follow God's man.
1. Moses faithfully presented them with God's Word.
2. However, they didn't believe Moses, and they didn't believe God.
3. They listened to the wrong crowd.
a. "Our brethren have discouraged our heart" v28
b. When we begin to listen to what others say more than to what God has said; then discouragement will come and failure will not be far behind.
II. Failed Because Of Deceit.
A. Satan is a liar and the prince of deceit.
1. The last thing he wants you to have is the Truth!
2. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." cf. Jn. 8:32
3. Satan wants to keep you blind to the truth and bound in sin.
4. He wants you to believe that your obstacles are too great to overcome.
B. Satan will always present another option for us to choose.
1. He will try to get us to question the Word of God.
2. ". . . Yea, hath God said... ?" cf. Ge. 3: 1
3. God's Word is clear in the matter of salvation.
a. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me. " cf. John 14:6
b. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." cf. Ac. 4:12
c. "...Without shedding of blood is no remission." cf. Hebrews 9:22b
4. Satan would have you believe that there are many ways for a person to be saved, but that is a lie!
C. The only defense against the devil.
1. Know the truth of God's Word!
2. Apply it to every area of our lives.
3. Be on guard for his attacks.
4. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. " cf. 2 Peter 5:8
III. Failed Because Of Doubt.
(Deuteronomy 1:32) Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,
A. Ye did not believe
1. Failure came because these men doubted the Word of God.
2. God had promised to go before them and fight for them, but...
3. Discouraged by others and deceived by Satan, they didn't believe God.
(Hebrews 3:19) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
B. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him... " cf. Heb. 11: 6a
1. God operates on the faith principle.
2. Believe in me first, then I will show you.
3. God is pleased when we exercise faith in Him.
(John 20:29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
C. Men are still failing because of doubt.
1. Men fail to get saved because they doubt God's Word concerning salvation.
2. Many fail to be used of God in His service because they doubt that God could use them.
3. Christians fail because they doubt God's promises of protection and provision.
These men failed because of discouragement, deception, and doubt which led to their disobedience.
The sad thing is this: they didn't have to fail! Joshua and Caleb believed God, refused to be discouraged by others, and weren't deceived by the obstacles. Their reward? To enter in and possess all that God had for them.
My friend if you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior today accept Him by faith and you will receive all that God has for you in eternal life. Christian, is your life best characterized by faithfulness or failure have you doubted God's promises? Why not come today yielding your life for His service, trusting His word every step of the way?