Think about the couch in your living room. Do you double check that it’s working every time you go to sit down? Turn it upside down to make sure everything is screwed in or grab a sack of potatoes to throw on the couch to make sure it won’t collapse under a little bit of weight? Probably not. You probably just take a seat. Why is it that simple? Because every time you’ve sat down before, the couch has held up its end of the bargain. Based on past experiences, the couch has proven to be trustworthy when it comes to taking a load off your feet. Silly as it is, this example has a lot to do with this week’s story. Time and time again, God had proven to the Israelites that He was trustworthy and always kept His promises. And yet, when trusting Him got a little scary, instead of remembering all those times before, they resorted to second-guessing what they knew about God.
MEMORY VERSE: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise." Hebrews 10:23
In Numbers 13, God reminded Moses of His promise that He would give the Israelites the land of Canaan. God told Moses to send 12 spies to check out the land and come back to give a report on the land, the food, and the people living there. Sounds simple enough…"Hey Israel, I’m going to give you this land. Now, go check it out.” After their spy mission, 10 of the spies were like, “There’s no way we can take these people. They are giants and we are grasshoppers compared to them!” But two of the spies (Joshua and Caleb) were like, “Bring. It. On.” Why? Did they see something different from what the other 10 spies saw? No! They remembered that God is trustworthy and always keeps His promises! Because of this, they believed God would give them the land, no matter how big and strong the people living there seemed. In fact, Joshua and Caleb said, “They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”(Numbers 14:9)What happened next? Well, because they didn’t trust God, God made the Israelites wander around in the desert for 40 years and NONE of them ever even got to go into the promise land…none, that is, except Joshua and Caleb. They trusted God’s promise from the very beginning and lived to see Him fulfill it!
READ NUMBERS 13:1-3, 17-20
READ NUMBERS 13:27-14:9
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Talk about the story of the 12 spies in Numbers 13 and 14. Often God does things we don’t expect. His actions can look different than we think they should. Sometimes we have to wait a really long time for His promises to come true. Does that mean that He’s not trustworthy? Why not? God’s plan and timing are perfect even if they’re not what we want. God is loving and good and has a better plan than we could ever hope for. He will always do what He says He will do, even if it’s different than what we expect.
In our story this week, the Israelites were afraid of the giants they saw in the Promised Land. What are some of the giants in your life? (ex: trying out for a team, speaking in front of people, mean kids at school, confessing sin – admitting you lied or cheated, etc.) When you have one of these “giant” situations, instead of seeing it as something to be scared and run away from, like the 10 spies did, you can see it like Joshua and Caleb did: an opportunity to see how God is trustworthy and always keeps His promises! Talk about promises in God’s Word that you can remember when you are facing these giants.
Thank God for always keeping His promises to you. Ask Him to help you keep trusting His ways when they are different than what you expect.
Learn the memory verse (Hebrews 10:23 NLT) as a family. Write it with wipe off markers on your bathroom mirror. Practice “popcorn style,” where each family member says one word until the entire verse is completed. Write it on an index card and keep it in the car or make up your own hand motions.
Pray and thank God for loving us no matter what! Thank Him for that He is dependable and trustworthy even when we may not trust him. Ask Him to help you keep trusting His ways when they are different than what you expected!
Next week, we will continue the month of March with our character trait, TRUSTWORTHY. We will be talking about how God helps us be dependable with what He has given us!
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