I hate how much of myself I see in Numbers 14. The Israelites have seen the LORD do amazing things, provided in ways unimaginable, protected in ways unexpectedly. And by the time they get to the wilderness . . . faith subsides and flesh rises up.
Shortly after the miracles . . . comes whining . . . and complaining. Whining and complaining lead to rebellion, rebellion leads to opposition. Opposition of God’s plan, His way, His design . . . leading to God’s judgment.
So Moses and Aaron, a prophet and a priest, intercede for the people, pleading with God not to bestow judgment.
Do His people respond with thanksgiving?
Of course not.
They respond with grumbling & complaining, continuing in rebellion.
They escape punishment, only to continue in disobedience.
So much so that God does not allow them to dwell in the Promised Land, the land that flows with milk and honey. Even after punishment for their rebellion, they continue to walk in it.
They continue to trust their own thinking, their own way, their own decisions to be right. God has warned them not to go into the land and fight, to stay in His provision, under His command, and they go anyway. They run from the place that God has intended for them to stay, right into the land of the enemy. Their disobedience leads to defeat. Their own thinking leads them to their own death.
Lessons I learned in Numbers . . .
I grumble. I complain. I rebel. God relents. God disciplines. And I still insist on my own way . . . and that never ends up pretty. Why don’t I trust that the LORD has so much more for my life than I can ever think or imagine?
Lessons I need still need to learn from Numbers . . .
Do not grumble against the LORD. We have no idea that the wilderness He is keeping us IN is keeping us FROM all sorts of danger. (Numbers 14:1-12)
God hears prayer. When His prophets and priests intercede according to His word, He hears. He relents. (Numbers 14:13-19)
God may relent from immediate punishment, but He is just. Sin does not go unpunished. (Numbers 14:20-38)
Do not fight battles the LORD does not intend for you to fight. Disobedience leads to defeat. (Numbers 14:39-45)