Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 27, 2009

Deuteronomy 1:19-46

• Spies and Rebellion | Deuteronomy 1:19-46

1:19-21 | These verses recount the difficult journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea (1:19). The people had traversed rough terrain in obedience to God’s command (see 1:6). Upon arriving at Kadesh-barnea Moses reminded the people of God’s promise to give them the land before them (1:20-21). They were at the threshold of the Promised Land — they could see it from there. However, as Vince Abner said, “It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.”

1:22-25 | Read Numbers 13-14 for background information. Moses summarized the account of the twelve spies (1:22-23) and their report (1:24-25). The people had requested that spies be sent into the land to map out a strategy for its conquest (1:22). This idea pleased Moses (1:23) who was given divine approval for the venture (Numbers 13:1-3).

1:26-33 | These verses recount the refusal of the people to enter and possess the land because of the negative report of the spies (1:26-28 and Numbers 13:28-29, 32-33). Moses reminded the people of how he had tried to encourage their fathers to trust in the Lord, who had proved Himself faithful every step of their journey (1:29-33). In spite of God’s faithfulness, their fathers had refused to trust God (1:32). The ten faithless and faltering spies saw the obstacles rather than the objective and the problems rather than the possibilities. It is interesting that there is no mention of God in the parallel account of the spies report in Numbers 13:25-33. The ten spies had lost sight of God. However, Caleb and Joshua saw the same things their fellow spies had seen and yet arived at a different conclusion. Perhaps it is because we tend to see things not as they are but as we are.

1:34-46 | These verses recount the Lord’s response to the people’s unfaithfulness. God declared that “not one of these men, this evil generation” would enter into the Promised Land (1:34-35), not even Moses (1:37). Only Caleb (1:36), Joshua (1:38), and the children (1:39 and Numbers 14:31) would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. The others were sentenced to wander and die in the wilderness (1:40 and Numbers 14:32-35). This was an irrevocable decision. Verses 41-46 relate the account of the belated confession of the people and their effort to make up for their unfaithfulness. It was too late. They had missed their window of opportunity.

God is bigger than giants! | The Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land because ten spies lost sight of the fact that God is bigger than giants. An entire generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because they unquestioningly accepted the demoralizing report of ten men who allowed the stature of their enemies to blind them to the strength of God. Let’s be careful lest we be guilty of the same thing. May we never forget that God is bigger than any giants we will ever face.


  1. I am studying through book of Deuteronomy. Also following other verses from others books as you have put in. So much information’s for me to learn from your notes.


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