God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28 - Numbers 11-13: Drama in the Desert

Today’s Reading: Numbers 11-13

The Message

English Standard Version

Congratulations! You have reached the end of two months of reading the Bible through in a year! Only 10 more to go. Keep it up!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God punishes the people for their lack of faith.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Israel wanted to return to Egypt because they missed meat. God punished them because they grumbled. Moses told God he was tired of shepherding the people. God gave Moses 70 helpers, but only once.
God piled three feet of dead quail at the people's feet.
Miriam and Aaron grumbled against Moses behind his back. God struck Miriam with leprosy as punishment.
God had Moses send 12 men into Canaan to scout the land. They saw the land was abundantly fruitful. Caleb wanted to take the land then. The others were scared and did not think Israel could defeat the Canaanites.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God punishes the people because they want to return to Egypt.

God does not punish the people because they want meat. He does not punish them for asking for meat. The reason He punishes them is because they expected God to be their holy vending machine. When their lives do not go exactly as planned, they complain and want to return to their old lives of slavery. It is as if the manna, the Red Sea crossing, and the Egyptian plagues meant nothing to them. God will not stand for ungratefulness from His Chosen People.

Moses is tired of being the people's prophet.

Moses is suffering burnout. He has been the leader of these people for only two years but in that time great things have happened, good and bad. Moses is tired of the roller coaster and wants out. God does not let him out, though. Instead, He gives 70 men to share in the burden, though only for a short time.

Aaron and Miriam are guilty of racism.

This is a difficult part of scripture. We would like to say that Aaron and Miriam are jealous of Moses' power and/or his ability to speak directly to God and leave it there. Unfortunately, they are also guilty of not liking Moses because he married an African woman. This also shows why Moses is a great man and the reason God could speak directly to him. But it also gives a bad mark to Aaron, the other person you wouldn't expect a major character flaw from.

God wants the people to see the strength of the Canaanites to witness what He will do.

The Israelites know God has given them the land. He has also told them what He will do to prepare the land. He has rejected the people living in Canaan because of their unrighteousness. But instead of seeing Canaan as a place with strong people groups and praise God for His justice and mercy toward Israel they instead cower away and believe they could not take the land. This will be a big issue for tomorrow's reading.
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