Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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The failure of the ten spies was looking at the situation in the land by their own sight (Num. 13:28, 32-33). As they were spying out the land, they saw the giants and the walled cities and were frightened. Unlike Joshua and Caleb, they did not turn their eyes to God. They failed because they relied on their knowledge and refused to trust in the Lord (cf. Num. 13:30; 14:6-9). Whenever you are in a difficult situation, do not survey it according to your own eyes. If you do this, you will turn away from God. In a difficult situation you need to close your eyes, turn yourself in your spirit to God, and pray to Him. Then you will be rescued. Because the ten spies looked at the situation by their own sight, they did not trust in the Lord as did Caleb and Joshua. Joshua and Caleb told the people, "Forget the situation and trust in the Lord. The Lord is higher than the walls of the city and He is greater than all the giants." The difference between the ten spies and Joshua and Caleb was that the two trusted in the Lord and the ten surveyed the situation by their own understanding, that is, according to their own knowledge.


Korah and his company attacked God’s deputy authority (Num. 16:1-3). Any attack against God’s authority, whether it is reasonable or unreasonable, has its origin in the mind. The principle is the same in the church today. You may attack the leaders because you feel they have "taken too much upon themselves," but your attack, which has its source in the mind, brings you spiritual death. Korah and his company suffered the destruction of death due to their attack upon God’s authority. You may consider that you are right in attacking the leaders in the church, but you must examine the result—death or life? If you are truly right, the result of your attack must be life. I can testify to you, however, that in the past I saw several attacks against the leadership in the church and that every one of those attacks brought in the destruction of death to the attackers. This is serious! You must ask yourself, "Does my attack proceed out of the spirit, out of the throne of God, or does it come from my mind?" Attack against God’s deputy authority, regardless of the reason, is on the line of knowledge that brings in death.

The attack of Korah and his company was due to the fact that they neglected the presence of God (Num. 16:19). If they had taken care of the presence of God, they would have been rescued from their attack against Moses and Aaron. They would have been turned from the line of knowledge to the line of life.


Saul did not act immorally as did David. Nevertheless, he dealt with the enemy according to his likes (1 Sam. 15:8). God had told him to smite and kill all of his enemies, but Saul spared some of them because they were good in his sight. Thus, Saul acted independently and did not follow the Lord (1 Sam. 15:11, 22-23). As a result of this independence Saul was dethroned and lost his kingdom.


Absalom rebelled against his father, King David (2 Sam. 15:10-13). According to the record of 2 Samuel 13—18, he was a person who acted altogether on his own and by his knowledge. He had no trust in God, and the result was nothing except death.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)