About Jesus Steve Sweetman
People Rebel. (ch. 14:1 - 45)
verses 1 through 5 we see Israel
complaining yet another time.
Every time a new difficult situation arises they complain and
want to return to
complains here, and elsewhere, they are telling God that they are not
happy with Him and how He is treating them.
As we saw in chapter 11, God interprets this complaining as
rejection of Him. They know
longer want to trust their lives with their God.
I don't believe that God has changed.
When Christians complain today, it is a demonstration that we are
not happy with the place in which God has put us in.
Our complaining is actually a matter of not trusting God and
where He has placed us. In
one real sense of the word, complaining is rejecting God Himself.
see in verse 5 through 10 Aaron and Moses' response.
They both fall on their faces before the people.
I see this as a gesture of sorrow and pleading to the people to
not turn back. Both
Caleb and Joshua rip their clothes, which is always seen as a gesture of
disgust in Jewish culture. We
thus have four men pleading with
verses 10 through 12 we see God's response to Israel. He is very unhappy and
says that He will strike them down.
It is clear that
the pronoun "them" and "you" in verse
12. God would strike
"them" down. "Them"
same happens in the church today. When
the church, or a part of the church, fails to do God's will, he will
strike them down, and they will shrivel to nothing.
That being said, in the end, God will still have a church, and a
church that pleases Him. This
is a church that is willing to go through the trials, go through the
apparent hard times with the help of the Lord.
verses 13 through 16 Moses intercedes again on the behalf of Israel. He has mentioned this to
the Lord before, but he does again.
He reminds God that He brought Israel
out of Egypt
in miraculous fashion, and all the surrounding nations saw it.
Now, if he kills
verse 15. Moses says if you
kill these people "all at one time…"
He is almost suggesting that if you are going to kill them, do it
little by little so it does not look so obvious, and in that way the
nations of the world will not think you are killing them and they won't
think evil of you. This is a
very humanistic way of thinking, but we still think like this today.
closes his intercession by reminding the Lord of His own words, that He
is loving, compassionate, slow to anger, but not letting the guilty go
unpunished. He then pleads
that God will forgive, that is, cancel or delete their sin from His
said this many times before, but as we see how Moses intercedes on
behalf of God's people, I pray the spirit of intercession would come on
church leaders today, because, the church at large is not much different
than Israel of old.
Lord responds in verse 20 with great quickness.
He did not delay for a second.
He said that He had forgiven them.
He had cancelled the sin from His books, and merely on the
request of Israel. In one sense of the word,
Moses repented on behalf of Israel.
this tells us something about God, forgiveness, and punishment.
I don't believe that God has changed today.
The writer of the book of Hebrews says that God rebukes and
punishes His sons. (Hebrews 12:5) In
New Testament terms this might well mean that there are many, if not the
majority of Christians, who live as forgiven people, but will not enter
into God's promised Kingdom right now in its fullest because of sin.
The forgiveness of sins may get us into heaven, but
if we continue to sin, we will be prohibited from entering God's
the terms "as surely as I live" in verse 21.
God is not saying that at some point He will die.
We know God lives forever, therefore this decree will never be
the people who will not enter the promised land.
They are those who have experienced first hand the powerful and
miraculous wonders of God in their deliverance from Egypt. This reminds me of a
couple of hard to understand verses in Hebrews 6:4 through 7.
The writer says that those who have experienced the power of God,
as these Israelis did; if they fall away, it is impossible for them to
find repentance again. I'm
not sure, but I wonder if you can make a connection between these Hebrew
verses and this chapter in Numbers.
In both cases, it may be possible that the people were forgiven,
but since they experienced God's power and fell away, they will never
verse 24 we note that God thinks well of Caleb.
God says that "he has a different spirit and follows me
knew God's promise for the land. He
believed God with all of His heart, and for that reason, he would enter
the promised land. It is
through trusting everything with God that causes us to receive what God
has promised. This is true
trust. It's not hyper faith.
It's not positive thinking. It's
not working emotions up and confusing that with faith.
This is actually handing your life and every situation over to
God, and if He has promised something, He will come through.
If He has not promised something, it does not matter how much
so-called faith you have. Faith
is built on the real and knowing promises of God, and we cannot presume
upon Him. We cannot imagine
He has promised something when He hasn't.
verse 25 we note that God is now changing the direction in which
verse 26 through 31 God declares that anyone over the age of twenty and
who has complained will die in the desert.
They will not enter the
might take note of the age of twenty years of age.
Complainers under this age were not held accountable. Age
may be a factor in how God judges people.
in verse 30 that God reminds
verses 31 through 33 God says that the children will inherit the land,
the ones Israel
said would die along with them. God
always looks to the next generation if the present generation fails to
trust and obey Him. He did
it back then and He still does it today, both with national
in verse 33 that the children of the complaining parents will suffer
along with the parents.
Yet, in the end they will be blessed.
Once all the complaining parents die in the desert, they will go
into the land and be blessed. This
too works in New Testament times. The
next generation of Christians can suffer from the last generation's
sins. The carry-over of the
church from one generation to the next last a long time, but will sooner
or later fade away and the next generation will be given the chance to
do God's will as they should.
verse 34 God pronounces a forty year wandering in the desert for Israel. Many Christians seem to
34 speaks to the issue that God's people can suffer for their sins and
know what it is like to have their own God against them.
This is very serious stuff. We're
talking about God's people here, the ones He loves.
Of course, God's judgment is based on His love.
He gets angry with His people because they reject Him, the one
who loves them. God
can be against His own people. We
should realize this and act accordingly.
This is a serious matter, a matter that most Christians take
lightly, if they've ever thought about this in the first place.
verse 35 God closes His condemnation and sentencing of
see in verses 36 through 38 that ten out of the twelve men who scouted
out the land
verse 39 and 40 we see that
verse 40 they decide to go and try to take the
verse 41 Moses responds to their thinking about entering
verses 42 and 43 Moses tells
verse 44 and 45 some men went up to