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Numbers 13-16


A Devotional Journey
   led by Dr. Gene Pearson

Thru the Bible in a Year
         What a terrible thing to hear God (or His spokesman) say 'You have gone too far!' as Moses does in 13:7. This is a tragic period in Israelite history. The men sent to spy out the land of Canaan & see how difficult it will be to conquer it, come back with stories of great prosperity and giant inhabitants with impenetrable defenses. Caleb and Joshua are the only ones who believe with God's help they can take possession of the land. All the other spies and the rest of the people refuse to go forward.
         When they hear that God has punished the disobedient scouts with death, and that His judgment on the rest of the nation who refused to trust and follow Him is exile in the wilderness until they have all died, a group decides to go up and fight the Amalekites and Canaanites in order to redeem themselves in God's eyes. Now they are on the other side of God's judgment: instead of refusing to do His will they are insisting on doing their own (and avoiding His punishment). This also fails and many of them die.
         After God reassures the people that their descendants will, in fact, occupy the Land, three of the Levites challenge Moses' and Aaron's authority as God's representatives among the people. But none of them has been called by God and not one of them survives His judgment: the earth opens and they are all swallowed up!
         Why do such things happen? The issue is God's honor, power and authority. When the people refuse to trust Him, after all the miracles & evidence He has already provided (as in the parting of the Red Sea & destruction of an Egyptian Pharaoh& his army), God's patience is no longer the issue but this Peoples' need for punishment.
         When the nation refuses to accept His authority to punish them and instead insist that they can work out their own salvation so to speak, God's support is no longer sought and they are destroyed by their own inadequacy.
         When God's choice of leadership is challenged by people who simply wish to assert their own importance, God=s blessing is no longer possibe, only His judgment.

         In your life, do you trust God? When we are rich and comfortable it seems unnecessary to trust Him at all. But when obstacles are bigger than our capacity to master and circumstances are more complicated than we can understand or control: that's when we have an opportunity to trust God. Do you trust Him?
         Do you recognize God's authority in your life? In the face of unexpected difficulties or pain because of your own actions, failures or sins, do you blame Him for not changing the consequences you’ve created, or insist He make things right without any humble repentance or request for forgiveness?
         Do you believe in God's power? When you see the people He has set in leadership over His Church making decisions and working in ways with which you disagree, do you pray for His intervention and trust His control, or attempt to take over yourself?
         We’re all part of the story of Israel. In one way or another, our choices,  patterns, faithfulness & sin are revealed as we read. We must learn from what God shares because it’s a terrible thing to hear God (or His spokesman say), 'You’ve gone too far!'
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011