The promise that God has spoken of is so close! Some of the people actually see it. But something about what they saw disturbs them and lets loose a chain of events that impedes on these people from ever experiencing God's promise.
DAILY READINGSNumbers 14-16 & Psalm 44
DAILY NOTESNumbers 14:1-4
- The peoples' lament quickly turns to a major complaint against Moses & Aaron.
- Their initial thought is to return to Egypt.
- They would rather choose a "head" to lead them back where they came from.
- Caleb and Joshua tear their clothes. Is this a form of lament, too?
- They can't defeat the people of the land. So, they threaten to stone the 2 men of their camp.
- Moses' rationale also harkens back to Egypt.
- God's rationale for keeping the Israelites wandering for 40 years.
- The people plan to go forward without God (the ark of the covenant). Moses recognizes that this idea "will not succeed" because they would be disobeying what God had told them to do (not to do).
- A man was found gathering sticks on the sabbath day; he was working, not resting. His punishment is death by stoning, carried out by the "whole congregation."
- There have been complaints raised before. This, however, is an attempted revolt.
- It seems as if they're jealous of the status of Moses and Aaron.
- Is this the first time God has spoken to Aaron, too?
- Those that opposed Moses & Aaron perish.
- Even after what just transpired, the people quickly turn against Moses and Aaron again.
- The 2 leaders are able to thwart the plague that had begun among the rebellious people.
- The psalmist considers the turmoil of his people and knows that God has allowed these things to happen. Still, his trust, his peoples' trust, remains in God's ability to deliver them.
- His prayer is that God would wake up to help them.
OTHER OBSERVATIONSRemember we said that the first results of Adam and Eve's disobedience was shame and fear.
Well, they are a part of these passages from Numbers, too. A group of the people are able to enter the land God has repeatedly promised would be theirs. They, except Caleb & Joshua, offer a troublesome report to the rest of the people. For fear's sake, they help to begin a revolt against Moses and Aaron.
Later, the people would recognize their sin. As a result they are full of shame, my interpretation, and come up with an idea that actually disobeys God even further.
Our fear and shame are big opponents against our faith and freedom.
You have to be willing to live by one side. In the Bible, who is ever discredited because of their faith or willingness to live as God has called them? No one, that I can tell. But we often read the results of fear and shame. Unfortunately, we often live them out, too.
Part of the good news from today's reading is that there is always someone(s) who is willing to live by faith and freedom. Today it's Caleb and Joshua (and Moses and Aaron). What about you?