Week 3: Day 1- Numbers 20:1-5

Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.

Numbers 20:1-5

Explanation

Miriam passed away, and this must have been difficult for Moses. Miriam was Moses’ sister. She had been used to sustain Moses’ life in the river. She was a leader in the exodus. She had lead in celebrating Israel’s victory over Egypt after the crossing of the Red Sea. Micah 6:4 even includes her as an influential leader in the exodus.

For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam

Micah 6:4

Her death here is part of the consequences that God had spelled out after the children of Israel chose not to go into the promised land. Everyone age 20 years or older would die other than Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb.

Of course, not having water was a problem. This tempted the people who were still following Moses to organize against him. They said three things:

  1. They should have stayed in Egypt.
  2. They should have died fighting against God.
  3. There is no food or provision here.

Application

2 issues here remind us that leadership is not easy.

First, no matter what happens, we do not shed the responsibilities of leadership or our own personal lives when we lead. We must trust God when we go through tough times. Even though Moses was dealing with the grief of losing Miriam, he still had to deal with this problem. So it is with we who lead.

Second, there is a breaking point for those who follow us. Many of the people that remained had not rebelled before. They had followed Moses up until this point. But when things got really bad they complained. How bad would thing have to get for me to complain? Do I trust in God and obey Him no matter how hard it gets?

Response

  1. Make the case for doing the right things.
  2. Have courage to say the right things.
  3. Have discernment to know when, how, and who to influence to do the right things.
  4. Don’t complain about what is wrong. Work to fix problems and do what is right!

Week 2: Day 5- Numbers 14:17-19

This Weeks Passage: Numbers 14:5-19

17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

Numbers 14:17-9

Explanation:

Moses is interceding to God on behalf of these people who want to hurt him and disobey God. He appeals to God’s character. He admits that there are consequences to their sin that will impact the people for generations to come. Yet, he also believes, because of God’s track record, that God will be compassionate and forgiving. He desired and asked that God would continue to do what He had been doing- showing mercy and forgiveness.

Application:

This is a good model for intercessory prayer. For Moses to pray this he had to have a heart of forgiveness for his people. He knew God and appealed to God passionately, but with what could be God’s will.

We should have a heart for people, and pray for them.

Response:

Take some time to pray today for someone other than yourself. Pray only for others during this time.

Week 2: Day 4- Numbers 14:13-16

This Weeks Passage: Numbers 14:5-19

13 And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)

14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,

16 Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

Numbers 14:13-16

Explanation:

There are a few observations that strike me here.

First, Moses cares about these rebellious people enough to go to God on their behalf. They want to stone Joshua and Caleb. Moses and Aaron had been face down in fear of avoiding God’s judgement on the people. And yet he is still advocating to God on their behalf.

Second, Moses knows God cares about His name among the gentiles. He appeals to God’s reputation as a reason not to kill the people.

Application:

We should concern ourselves with thinking the way God thinks and then praying according to His will. Moses knew God well enough to appeal to what he knew God valued. We should know God like that.

We should concern ourselves with people, interceding to God on their behalf. We ought to pray for ourselves and for others that they would be right with God.

Response:

  1. Who is someone who needs you to pray for them?
  2. How well do you know God? Is this reflected in your prayer life?
  3. How is your prayer life? Do you pray often? Do you pray for others?

Week 2: Day 3- Numbers 14:11-12

This weeks passage: Numbers 14:5-19

11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

Numbers 14:11-12

Explanation

God asked Moses two questions:

  1. How long will they provoke me?
  2. How long will they not trust me after all I have done for them?

What had he done for them?

  • He had freed them from Egypt!
  • He had delivered them from slavery!
  • He had delivered them by taking them through the Red Sea!
  • He had provided for them physically!
  • He had promised to give them a new land and a new future!

God promised to judge these rebellious people. Why? Because despite all He had done for them, they were so enraged at Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua that they were picking up stones to stone them.

Application

People will be held accountable for their actions. It may not seem like it, but they will. We must be careful on both sides of this issue.

  • We may see ourselves as Joshua and Caleb int he story, willing to speak the truth courageously, and if we are like them we must realize that others may not like us because of it.
  • We may actually be the rebellious jews in the story, forgetting what God has don and defying the people God has given to lead me.

Response

  1. Take some time to pray and thank God for what He has done for you.
  2. Take some time to think about how leaders in your life are trying to lead you. Are you cooperating with them or fighting against them?