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Numbers Chapter 14   (ESV)

17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”

20 Then the Lord said, “I have pardoned, according to your word. 21 But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, 22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.



  • Read the passage aloud slowly. Keep in mind that this is the prayer of Moses after ten of the twelve members of the Israelites scouting party to the Promised Land expressed doubt that they could make their home in that land, even with God’s help. (Read the vv 1-24 to learn more about the depths of the Israelites’ doubt.)
  • Read the passage again slowly, noting (a) qualities of God that stand out, (b) qualities of Caleb’s response to God, and (c) whatever else comes to mind.
  • What impresses me most about God? Why?   What impresses me most about Caleb?  Why?
  • How do I respond to God’s willingness to forgive so many Israelites even though He seems to think they do not have the capacity to be used by Him?



Ask God to show me where I fit in this passage.  How might I be tempted to “[turn] a deaf ear”?  How might God be calling me to live a different story – to be one who has “a different spirit” from others, who follows God passionately even though it might involve risks (for example, loving the unlovely, pursuing a career that makes less money, admitting to others the mistakes I’ve made)?