Numbers 14-15

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Chapter 14 — Can you see my SHOCK FACE????  When we left off yesterday the Israelites had complained about their hardships and saw the fire of God come down and burn land on the edges of their camp … I am sure the sight MUST have had an impact on them, plus the smell and the smoke!!  However, that didn’t seem to REALLY impact them because they joined the ban of  “rabbles” and began to complain about the manna from heaven as well as wishing they had never left Egypt.  God heard and responded with quail….. lots and lots of quail….  and many people died with un-chewed quail hanging out of their mouths because of their disrespect and inability to control their cravings.  The Israelites who remained alive had to bury their dead!!  Miriam and Aaron had a little sibling rivalry going on that left Miriam with leprosy.  THEN the 12 spies go to check out the Promised Land… the LAND that was ALREADY PROMISED.. THEIRS for the TAKING… but 10 of the spies convinced an ENTIRE NATION that there was NO WAY they could take the land.  We end yesterday with the Israelites discussing among themselves ALL the reasons they could NOT TAKE  the Promised Land.  Their OWN conversations built more fear, doubt, no TRUST in God, no BELIEF in God’s promises.  OUCH!!

OK… so I don’t know about you guys… but after those incidents…. I would be trembling in my sandals!!  YET we begin today with WHAT?????? …. MORE GRUMBLING AND COMPLAINING!!!  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not judging (OK… I am TRYING not to judge them too harshly… he without sin cast the first stone.. know what I mean??)…. I make enough of my own STUPID mistakes and wonder WHAT WAS I THINKING????  I KNOW they had been in the desert for 2 years, living off the land, no stores to shop at, no new clothing or shoes … NOTHING…. just the basics… which were ALL from God’s mercy, grace, provisions, love, and protection. However, they could NOT see God’s provisions and protection … nor did they TRUST HIM to keep HIS promise.  They were READY to get a group together and head BACK to EGYPT!!!  WHATTTTT???????? AND ALL of THIS particular grumbling and complaining were because the 10 spies had convinced 2-3 MILLION people that there was NO WAY they could enter the Promised Land!!!  10 people vs 2-3 MILLION and NO one bothers to listen to Joshua and Caleb… NO ONE!!!  WE must each be very careful what we sharing with others …. because we never know how many others we are influencing with our thoughts and actions.  I think this is why Paul said in Philippians 4:8 — “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Moses and Aaron must have felt a 100x what I feel when I simply read this.  They fell on their faces.  Joshua and Caleb began tearing at their clothes. Joshua and Caleb TRY to reason with these wild people and tell them “the LORD is with us” so do not worry about the people in that land … if the LORD is pleased with us…. it is our land to take!!

Then these wild people wanted to STONE Joshua and Caleb.  THESE were the SAME  people who had SEEN God’s miracles with Pharaoh, walked on dry land when the Red Sea parted, had been OBEYING the Lord in learning HIS laws, and sacrifices so they would be a holy people before the LORD.  NOW.. they want to STONE Joshua and Caleb for believing in the PROMISE…. The SAME promise they had been reminded of through out their journey.

AND RUT ROW.. the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of Meeting to ALL the Israelites.  The LORD asked Moses how long will these people treat me with CONTEMPT? (Contempt means: the act of despising : the state of mind of one who despises; lack of respect or reverence for something.)  THESE PEOPLE DESPISED THE LORD!!!    How long will they REFUSE to BELIEVE me? Moses PRAYS again for God’s protection on HIS people.  And God answerd Moses and replied “I have forgiven them, as you asked.  VERSE 20 –

“NEVERTHELESS …. NOT ONE OF THE MEN WHO SAW MY GLORY AND THE MIRACULOUS SIGNS I PERFORMED IN EGYPT AND IN THE DESERT BUT WHO DISOBEYED ME AND TESTED ME TEN TIMES — NOT ONE OF THEM WILL EVER SEE THE LAND I PROMISED AN OATH TO THEIR FOREFATHERS. NO ONE WHO HAS TREATED ME WITH CONTEMPT WILL EVER SEE IT.”

God FORGAVE them… but their actions STILL had consequences!!  What had the Israelites  CONTINUALLY done???… they failed to BELIEVE HIM, TRUST HIM, OBEY HIM….. They wanted it THEIR WAY!!!

When God said they tested HIM 10 times HE was NOT exaggerating:

  1. Lacking trust at the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11-12)
  2. Complaining over bitter water at Marah (Exodus 15:24)
  3. Complaining in the Desert of Sin (Exodus 16:3)
  4. Collecting more than the daily quota of manna (Exodus 16:20)
  5. Trying to collect manna on the Sabbath when God specifically told them there would be none to collect (Exodus 16:27-29)
  6. Complaining over the lack of water at Rephidim (Exodus 17:2-3
  7. Engaging in idol worship with a golden calf (Exodus 32:7-10)
  8. Complaining at Taberah (Numbers 11:1-2)
  9. More complaining over the lack of delicious food (Numbers 11;4)
  10. Failing to TRUST God and enter the Promised Land because of their fears (Numbers 14:1-4)

Notice in verse 24 that God NOTICED Caleb!!  “Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.” “I will bring him into the land he went into and his descendants will inherit it.”  This makes me question myself… am I a Caleb or am I in with the rest of the gang???    God THEN tells Moses in verse 25:  “since the Amalekites (descendants of Esau, part of the Arab nation) and Canaanites (descendants of Ham who mocked his father Noah) are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea. Verses 26-35 .. God is having a conversation with Moses and Aaron.  God begins with “HOW long will this wicked community grumble against me?  I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.  So tell them as surely as I live declares the Lord I will do to you the very things I heard you say….”  TALK about the power of our words!!!

Jeremiah 9:8 —  “Their tongue is a deadly arrow;    it speaks deceitfully.With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.”

Matthew 12:34 — “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Job 3:25 — “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”

Proverbs 23:7  (KJV) — “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Moses told the Israelites what the Lord has said…. NONE of them will EVER enter the Promised Land, they will wander the desert for 40 years and the older generation will die there.  OHHHHH AND NOOOOOWWWWWWWW .. the Israelites mourned bitterly.   THEN THEY decide they will take the land.  HELLOOOOOOOO!!!  God has already told them what was going to happen… no going back now!! God would NOT be in it with them!!! Yet they are DETERMINED (quite rebellious don’t you think?) to go to the Promised Land.  Moses questions them as to “WHY ARE YOU DISOBEYING THE LORD???” (you crazy people!! … my words for emphasis)!!  Moses TOLD them that since they had turned away from the Lord HE would NOT be with them and “you will fall by the sword”.  SOOOO… what do they do???….. THEY GO ANYWAY… NO GOD… NO ARK….NO MOSES.… AND the Amalekites and Canaanites “beat” them back down all the way to Hormah (see where it is on the map from two days ago).

Chapter 15 — God begins reviewing the offerings and sacrifices they are to make once they enter the land HE is giving them as a home.  The verse in this chapter that touched me today was verses 13-16:

God is making a way for the native-born, and the aliens!!  God continually does this through out the OT … an indication that in God’s sovereignty, love, and wisdom… HE made a way for ALL to come to HIM.  Isn’t that wonderful??

Before we leave chapter 15, we are told what is to happen to people who defiantly sin, who blaspheme the Lord ….. that person must be cut off from his people…. PERIOD.   And the next thing we read is about a man gathering wood on the Sabbath… NOT A GOOD IDEA.  Moses was not sure what should be done to him, so goes before the Lord in prayer (Don’t you love Moses leadership skills and his humility??).  The Lord tells him that the man must be stoned to death.  God wanted his people to KNOW he was serious about the things that were important to HIM.

The last thing in the chapter is that the people are to wear tassels on the corners of their garments with a blue cord on each tassel so they will REMEMBER ALL the commandments of the LORD, that you may obey them and not go after the lusts of your own heart.    God wanted them to have something visible .. something tangible… something they could see daily to remind them of HIS commandments.

Psalm 90 —  This is the only Psalm written by Moses.  There are several things I love in this Psalm:

  1. Moses reminds us that a thousand years are like a day to the Lord.  God is not limited by time.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Our time table is not God’s time table.  He is not constrained by time.  God is bigger than time.  God is eternal and this shows us another characteristic of HIM which is that we can depend on HIM.  God can not be put in a box and believing God KNOWs what is best for us and does it in HIS timing becomes a matter of TRUST, BELIEVING HIM, and FAITH in HIM.  AMEN!!
  2. God knows our sins.  Regardless of how much we believe we have hidden sins, secret sins… GOD KNOWS OUR SIN… confessed and unconfessed… public or private… from years ago or from a minute ago…. again it is a matter of TRUST, BELIEVING HIM, and having FAITH in HIM.  There is NOTHING hidden from HIM .. regardless of how bad we wish it were.  He knows….. so why not speak with HIM, confess to HIM, and He will forgive you.  There is NOTHING HE won’t forgive if we just ask.  The first step of healing… is stepping out of denial (and I am NOT speaking of the river in Egypt).  He is waiting for you to come before Him with a humble heart and confess and repent.  THANK HEAVENS… TALK about experiencing freedom!!
  3. Teach us to number our days.  Life is fragile.  Life here on earth is temporary.  God wants us to look at the big picture so we do HIS work while we are here … KNOWING we only have a  limited time to do HIS will.  SEIZE the day!! Begin today… waking up with the joy from HIS unfailing love.. knowing that HIS mercies are NEW every morning!!

Speaking of  Seize the Day, here is a song by the same name I thought you would enjoy Seize the Day by Carolyn Arends 🙂  Enjoy

And the last verse… “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes establish the work of our hands.”  The favor of God.. what a HUGE blessing.  If we have the favor of God… we will come to have the favor of men.  However, if we do not have the  favor of men…. God is still in control.  God wants us to know our purpose and HE will establish the work of our hands.  HE will bless it … all our days!!  PHEW.. talk about TRUST!!

I’d love to hear from you.. what was your favorite verse today?  Do you have any questions about anything?  (I may not have the answers … but I can ask someone who will or do research or both and get back with you.)

I pray that God’s favor is richly upon  you this very day.  He loves you.  He wants you and me to have willing hearts, not rebellious, stiff necked, hearts and attitudes.  … as we see in these examples left for US to read, know, and learn from so we can change our ways where needed.

Sharing HIS love.

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