The Feet of an Ambassador

Title: The Feet of an Ambassador

Bible Book: Numbers 13 : 17-33

Author: Frank Page

Subject: Evangelism; Missions; New Year



For four weeks now, we have looked at the new emphasis in our church called Growing Graduates. This wonderful new is an intentional partnership of church and family as we seek to develop fully devoted followers of Christ.

First, we talked about how to have a “Heart of a Warrior.”

Next we looked at how to have the “Mind of a Scholar.”

Last week, Drs. Harley and Mize shared with you how you might have the “Hands of a Hero.”

Today, we focus on yet another very important aspect of this process called “The Feet of an Ambassador.”

I hope that today we will see that we have opportunities before us that we desperately need to make the very best use of those opportunities in sharing the Good News. We miss many opportunities in life. I read a humorous little story recently about some girls that seemed not to miss an opportunity.

“Participating in a walk-a-thon for charity, my friends and I came upon two little girls who had set up a stand with a ‘Free Water’ sign. Because it was such a hot day, we took full advantage of their offering, then tried to pay the girls for their hospitality.

‘No, we can’t take your money,’ one girl replied. ‘The water is free.’ Impressed with their spirit of charity, my group gathered all our change and gave the girls $3.25. As we walked away, we overheard one girl whisper to the other, “That makes $15.25.”

I am firmly convinced that a multitude of opportunities lie before us and are being missed with regularity. We need a new devotion to God’s task, a new devotion for His vision for our church, a new devotion so that we might have the ultimate commitment to God’s Kingdom work. Opportunities are arising before us and we are missing them. Therefore, we desperately need a renewed vision to take this land for Jesus Christ.

In our text for this morning, Numbers 13:17-33, we find a story of vision. Read this familiar text with me.

I. We See A Land Worth Taking (v. 27).

The people, weary of wandering, send twelve spies into the “promised land.” They were sent from the south (Negeb) to the north to Hebron (v. 22) of the land of Canaan. Their instructions were primarily to bring reports about the land and the way it was built up and cultivated. As a part of this report, they were to find out whether the inhabitants were strong and numerous or weak and few. They went from Kadesh (v. 26) in the wilderness of Paran and on to Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath at the northernmost boundary of Canaan near Dan. The report of the land was a glowing one. The fruit brought with them was luscious. The Valley of Eshcol was in a famous grape producing area. The word Eshcol means cluster. The land flowed with milk and honey. These are foods which would make a land most desirable in the eyes of the people who had been traveling in the desert or wilderness.

For forty days they wandered over the entire land. The inhabitants of Canaan were a mixed population (v. 29) and so it was not too much of a task for them to survey the land and people in relative safety. Indeed some of the inhabitants of the land may have been relatives.

The report was mixed: They were frightened, but they were excited at the resources of the land.

I believe that we, too, are called to survey the land. Jesus said in John 4:35, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields...“Is our land full of un-harvested resources for God’s kingdom? Are there precious souls who are valuable to our Father? I believe that we live in a land worth taking.

In 1858, a scientific expedition passed through what we now call the Grand Canyon. A young lieutenant by the name of Ives made the following entry in his report: “The region we last explored, the Grand Canyon, is of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and  after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first and doubtless will be the last party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended that the Colorado River, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed.”

Obviously the young man did not appreciate the values of the Grand Canyon. Rather than being the last party to visit it, his was but the first. Many people since have seen and appreciated the values of the Grand Canyon that this young officer missed. He had no vision.

We are too often like Lt. Ives. We have given up too easily, too quickly. There may be a church or two on every street corner, but the church is not in every home. We live in a land worth taking. Lift up your eyes. In our country alone, there are thousands of unreached souls.

I have said before that we need to be very careful in our description of our church as an evangelistic church. The truth is that we are not. You may point to statistics and show that we are baptizing far more than ever before. While you can do so legitimately if you compare us to other church, when we compare ourselves to God’s desire and to the number of lost people in our area, you know that we have barely reached first base. Some of you honestly ask me the question, “When will you be satisfied?” Let me state it this way, when the last unreached child or adult in this area comes to me and says, “Pastor, will you tell me how to be saved?” Or when the last person comes to me and says, “Pastor, I want you to know that someone in your church led me to Christ last week and I want to make it public.” That is when God will be satisfied and I will be satisfied.

II. We Hear of the Difficulty and Seeming Impossibility of the Mission

The land of Canaan was heavily fortified (v. 28). The poorly equipped Israelites were overwhelmed at the fortifications and troops. Among the people were the descendants of Anak. This termmay refer to professional soldiers of “the corps of Anaq”(de Vaux, pp. 219, 242). Verse 28 begins with the word yet, which indicates that there is no hope of conquering the people there. The Anakites (the word means “long neck”) are related in v. 33 to the Nephilim (cf. Genesis 6:3). The word Nephilim may be translated as “fallen ones” and are legendary giants who bring terror to the smaller sized people, thus indicating fear of ferocity and size. The inhabitants were so big that they felt that they had no chance. The land was so big that people were insignificant therein.

The situation caused ten out of twelve to balk at the mission. The majority report said, “No way!” Not only did they express deep reservation, we see that some buttressed their argument with exaggeration (vs. 23-33). Some say that was true “ministerially speaking.”

Today, the majority report would be basically the same. The wording would be somewhat different. Here are some possibilities: “I don’t think we need to grow, we’ve got enough people.” “I’m so tired. Please not another program.” “I’ve got no more time.”

Many of us are ready to throw up our hands and say that the world is too powerful. We often confess that the voices that children and grandchildren are hearing are louder than ours and seem to have more impact.

III. We See a Vision which Expresses Itself in Faithful Service

Look at v. 30. Here we see the minority report. Caleb had a spirit of confidence so unlike the others. Why? He had the same background, same training, and same information. The key is found in 14:8-9. He saw the key to success in life. He recognized the enabling power of the Lord.

How we need to do the same! Then we will see victory, first of all personal victory. In Deuteronomy 1:35-36 we read, “‘Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good and I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’” Caleb’s life was one of victory. We can have that. Also, we can see victory as a corporate body. Though initially the minority report was rejected, eventually the people did take the land. The response “No Way” became “God’s Way!”


God has given us a great responsibility. Let us be faithful.

We need to raise up a generation of children and students who know how to have the Feet of an Ambassador. They need to be diligently involved in a new kind of attitude that results in a powerful move of evangelism across this world I want to see the day when every single child and student are actively involved in missions in our nation and in our world, but at the same time involved in sharing their precious story with friends and family right here at home. How we all desperately need to have the Feet of an Ambassador. How we all need to have the kind of spirit that Caleb had.

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