July 11, 2021
Scripture: “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? Numbers 14:40b-41.
Observation: Having stewed over the negative report about the powerful people residing in Canaan, the Israelites then threatened to appoint a new leader so that they could return to Egypt (verse 4). Demonstrating patience and care for his people, Moses, rather than being offended and turning his back on rebellious Israel, intercedes on their behalf to Yahweh to seek forgiveness (verses 13-19). The Lord relented and pardon their sins (verse 20), but not without consequences. This was the tenth time that the chosen people had rebelled against their God (verse 22), so judgment was pronounced: those who had rebelled would continue to wander in the desert and never see the Promise Land, and the ten scouts who fear-mongered died of a plague (verses 21-37). Unfortunately, rather than gratefully receiving forgiveness and accepting the consequences of their sins, the people again ignored God’s command and Moses’ warning that they would be defeated (since God would not be with them) and resultantly lost more lives (verses 41-45).
Takeaway: There are two in this story. First, Moses provides a godly example of leadership. It is easy to lead people when they admire us and follow our advice, but Christlike leaders intercede for those who rebel against God and us. Secondly, when we have sinned against God, we need to thankfully receive his forgiveness and accept the consequences, trusting that his grace will be sufficient to see us through the challenges that await us.
Prayer: Father God, help us to accept the consequences of our sins and trust that your grace will be sufficient to see us through the challenges. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling