Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu; from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi; from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi; from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli; from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi; from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. (Numbers 13:4-15)
The Unknown Ten
There are many names to remember in scripture telling great deeds of courage, faith and devotion to God. Enoch was not for God took him; Noah and the ark is a popular story of grace; Abram appears on the scene to plant the seed for the nation of Israel; Moses becomes the icon of the Law of God for the Jews; David is the courageous shepherd king; and the list could go on. Early in childhood the names of the twelve apostles are memorized along with the Judges of old. Names – lots of names to remember. Names that tell stories. Stories that tell the character of the men and women of God.
Ten of the most famous names of scripture (who are never remembered) are Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. Do you know whose these leaders are? They were chosen because they showed great skill in leadership among the people. The ten names were heads of the children of Israel who bore the responsibility of one of the greatest undertakings in the history of men. “These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua” (Numbers 13:16). Twelve men were sent into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and bring back a report. Only two men believed the land could be taken with the power of God. Joshua and Caleb would enter the promised land forty years later but the ten men that spied the land with them would die in the wilderness.
There must have been a great excitement among the people as they approached the land of Canaan. Leaving Egypt far behind they longed to be a people free from the bondage of slavery. God had delivered them time and again overcoming impossible odds to save His people. Spread out in a vast land of milk and honey Canaan was theirs for the taking. The twelve men that spied out the land were awed by the beauty of the land of promise. They had never seen anything like it. The bounty of the land was incredible. Giants lived in the land with large cities. It was a land of spectacular views overflowing with a cornucopia of prosperity. God has promised the land to them. They had only to go up and take it.
Twelve men walked the land of Canaan. Ten men walked with hearts of fear. Two men saw the glory of God. Returning to the people the ten caused fear in the hearts of Israel with the stories of giants and death and destruction. Joshua and Caleb sought to rally the people with words of hope and courage. The people followed the advice of the ten and paid with their lives. Only Joshua and Caleb would see the land of promise again and be inscribed in the monuments of faith as faithful men of God. But what of the ten? Their names are forgotten. Bible classes seldom require students to learn their names. They perished only to be remembered in a chapter of shame for their disbelief in the power of God.
There are two kinds of names in the world: names that will be remembered and names that will be forgotten. These are not names of famous leaders of history, inventors, adventurers, soldiers, scientists or heroes of men. The names that will be remembered are names written in a book of life inscribed by the hand of God. Many men live in such a way as to be remembered in the annuals of history. Sadly most men live to engrave their names on marble instead of the heavenly parchment of God’s book. These names will be forgotten. The names of the faithful (like Joshua and Caleb) will be echoed in the halls of judgment when the Lord calls them forth to eternal salvation. The names of the ten will be forgotten because of their unbelief along will all those who fail to inscribe their names in the roll of blood given to us by Christ.
Where is your name?
Sometimes the pinnacle of fame and the height of folly are twin peaks. (Anonymous)