The Seine River running through Paris

The Seine River running through Paris

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 16, Num 11-13

Today's readings are Num 11-13.

Oh, how quickly things can change! Upon leaving Sinai, Israel was in high spirits. In Num 11:1-8, after only three days on the journey (Num 10:33), God's people are in the wilderness fo Paran and once again complaining.

Moses laments over the grumbling congregation, asking God to just kill him. Instead, gives Moses elders to help him with the work of the ministry. God has a plan for His people, one that depends on Him and His faithfulness, not theirs. He will get them to the Promised Land but they will continue to stumble along the way. As for Moses and his frustration in leadership, we see that God does not remove His people from ministry because it is too difficult. However, He will enable and equip them to do what He calls them to do. 

As for the people, they learn a lesson about complaining (Num 11:4-6). It seems that the people struggle with being happy with the blessings they've received and constantly wind up wanting more than what God is giving them. Their fickle nature and refusal to be content with the blessings they already have lead to disaster (Num 11:31-35).

Miriam and Aaron learn similar lessons about complaining in Num 12:1-9. They are numbered among the primary leaders of Israel but allow petty jealousy and envy to interfere with God’s established leadership structure which places Moses at the head (Num 12:2). God affirms Moses’s position by describing the unique nature of His relationship with him (Num 12:7-8).

The people pay for their complaints and lack of appreciation. Miriam does as well (Num 12:10). Apparently, even leaders can be fickle making them subject to God’s chastisement. God graciously provides for her and heals her (Num 12:10-16) once again demonstrating His love for His children in spite of their lack of faithfulness and gratitude. It should be noted that God's love does not preclude consequences for ungodly actions (Num 12:14-15). While the price Miriam pays is not eternal, the whole incident is very painful and trying for her.

In Num 13:1-20, Moses sends spies into Canaan. They return with reports about the land being everything God promised it to be. But, the spies are intimidated by the people occupying the land. Ignoring the promises of God and the fact that God had prepared them for battle, they insist that Israel will be unable to take the land.

This will be interesting. What happens when God's people evaluate His promises in light of their circumstances rather than His faithfulness?

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