Numbers is essentially the first Roll Call of God. It could also be called the Book of Rebellion as it recounts the grumblings of those who were delivered from slavery.
Our Lord spoke to Moses in the Tent Meeting in the Desert of Sinai and told him to take a census of the entire Israelite community by their clans. Families were listed with every man by name. All the Israelites twenty years old or more totaled 603,550 men.
After parting the sea, feeding them heavenly manna from the sky, and providing light with a guiding cloud, the people complained and said they had it better in Egypt! (Num 9:15)
In chapter 12 we read about the negative report of the two spies, while Joshua and Caleb who dared to believe God. Israel’s unbelief in God is recorded in chapter 14. The Lord’s anger was ignited a number of times in this book. “Beware of unbelief! You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7)
In chapter 20 we read that instead of proclaiming what God gave him to say, a frustrated Moses strikes a rock for water. After all of the unbelief, the Lord told Moses and Aaron that because they did not trust in Him enough to honor God as holy in the sight of the Israelites, that they would not be the ones to lead His people into the Promised Land.
Moses said to the Lord “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them…so the Lord’s people will NOT be like sheep without a shepherd.” (Num 27:15)
Afterwards, a humbled Moses anointed Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom was the spirit. Moses gave Joshua some of his authority so the Israelite community would obey him. The children of Israel learned the hard lesson of trusting in God for all things, not people, in a time of crisis, or at anytime.
“Because they have not followed Me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Num 32:11).
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years until that entire generation died off. When Joshua and Caleb made the trip into the Promised Land they returned within 40 days.
LESSON: Limit the number of times we complain
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
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“It is finished.” 4/20/19