ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 286


respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to
serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten.
“At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your
fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in
your decisions and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those
who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s
anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that
are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’
“At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.
“Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai
and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves
remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we
arrived at ­Kadesh-­barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill
country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. Look! He has
placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of
your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’
“But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore
the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which
towns we should enter.’
“This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from
each of your tribes. They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. They picked some of its fruit and brought it
back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us
is indeed a good land.’
“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must
hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from ­Egypt—­to hand us over
to the Amorites to be slaughtered. Where can we go? Our brothers have
demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land
are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with
walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants ­there—­the descendants
of Anak!”’
“But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your
God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in
Egypt. And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the
way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his
child. Now he has brought you to this place.’
“But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, who
goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a
pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.

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