Watch this optional video before you meet as a group.
“Instead of speaking in broad generalities about changing the world, we [can] imagine in more specific ways the transformation of our own particular places. We can trust that God is orchestrating the renewal of all creation and that God will raise up people in other places who will care for those places as much as we care for ours.” (C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison)
Numbers 13:17-30 (NIV)
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
- Tell us about your current neighborhood. What are the things that give your neighborhood it’s particular flavor and texture? Tell about your neighbors. What are your relationships like with them? Do you like them?
- Can you think of a time that God helped you grow not by moving you somewhere but by keeping you put, and encouraging deeper commitment to your current situation?
- Discuss the attitudes that the people of Israel had toward the place God had promised them. What do these attitudes each tell us about how they viewed God, his promises, and his purpose? Do you find similar attitudes in your own heart when you think of the places and people among which God has placed you?