A Worshipful Journey Through the Book of Numbers
Four hundred years of compromise, sin, suffering and darkness at the hands of evil authorities. Israel’s only way to be healed is to come out of slavery and into the freedom of the Lord’s authority. Picture yourself when reading of Israel. As you follow our study through the often overlooked book of Numbers, you will see how God rehabilitates and frees broken people.
Day 12: The People Rebel
From the Israelite camp was heard a desperate cry in Numbers 14. Households were filled with grief and turmoil over what the spies reported. The men stood before the courts of the LORD and pleaded for the safety of their families (14:3). The whole congregation of people recanted all that the LORD had done, and are found in Numbers 14 wanting to return back to the slavery of Egypt. Fear had entrapped the people’s hearts. All they could see is the threat of the sword and the risk of death before them (14:3-4). And in verse four of Number chapter 14, the people came to the conclusion that they should choose another leader to lead them back into Egypt.
Some hesitation on behalf of the people is no doubt understandable in light of all that was reported about the land. The fortified cities standing in their way were a real cause for concern.
However, consider Moses’ response in vss. 13-19 of Numbers 14. Though the people rebelled in feeling they needed a better leader, their leader responded with a display of humility and prayers on their behalf. Moses truly is meek to have prayed for a people who acted more like his enemies.
Consider also the Lord’s judgments, and how he acted on behalf of the injustice done toward Moses, as well as the injustice the people enacted toward God’s own glory and leadership. The people had ignored God’s signs (vs. 22), they had tested God in not trusting in, listening to, and following after his voice (vs. 22). They despised God in their grumbling (vs. 26), and they had brought their groans into an entire nation and lineage of people (vs. 33). Such an offense, to go without consequence, would only devalue God’s Holiness. God’s Name was offended.
Though he remained patient with the people in order to exalt his patience, it was time to show forth the other side of his Majesty. The judgment needed to fit the crime (vs. 34). God’s promise was to be as equally fervent in extending mercy to the people through word and promise as he was in his commitment to also discipline and rebuke. He commited to pardon as much as he commited to fully discipline (vs. 36-38). God is true to every word and to every facet of his character, and this circumstance provided no exception.
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