Scripture: Numbers 14:1-25
1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why does the Lord bring us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?" 4 And they said to one another, "Le us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt".Meditation: The "evil report" which the spies brought back about the people of the land led Israel to the same point of despair that the other hardships in the wilderness had precipitated. Once again they opted for the security provided by the Egyptian landlords rather than trust in God and his servant Moses who was leading them through their precarious journey. Their despair led to full-scale revolt when the people spoke of choosing a new leader who would take them back to Egypt.
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Je-phun'neh, who were among those who had spied out the land, rent their clothes, and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, "The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them".
10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. 11 And the Lord said to Moses, "How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs which I have wrought among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they".
13 But Moses said to the Lord, "Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for thou didst bring up this people in thy might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that thou, O Lord, art in the midst of this people; for thou, O Lord, art seen face to face, and thy cloud stands over them and thou goest before them in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if thou dost kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard thy fame will say, 16 'Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to give to them, therefore he has slain them in the wilderness'.
17 And now, I pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great as thou hast promised, saying, 18 'The Lord is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation'. 19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray thee, according to the greatness of thy steadfast love, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now".
20 Then the Lord said, "I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the proof these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice, 23 shall see the land which I swore to give to their fathers; and none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. 25 Now since the A-mal-e-kites and the Canaanites dwell int he valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.
Joshua and Caleb addressed the community of Israel with words of faith and courage: "If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them". Their plea is rejected by the people and nearly cost them their lives.
There are important spiritual lessons that we can learn from this incident Those that rebel in unbelief against God fail to inherit the blessing, but God will not forsake his people and those with faith in him will see the Lord fill the earth with his glory (see Hebrews 3:7-19; Psalm 103:8-14). In your struggle against sin and evil, where do you encounter unbelief or rebellion? Ask the Lord for strength to overcome them and to win victory in him.
"Lord Jesus Christ, you have won great victory for me over the power
of sin and evil. Your love conquers all. Give me grace and strength to
fight fear with faith, evil with good, despair with hope, apathy with zeal,
rage with kindness, and stinginess with generosity."