Daily Devotional Monday 10th August 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 14:1–20

The People Rebel

14:1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.

11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”

Moses Intercedes for the People

13 But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for you brought up this people in your might from among them, 14 and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16 ‘It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”

God Promises Judgment

20 Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned, according to your word.

(ESV)

Here we have yet another grumbling match (v1-2). The Lord is amazingly patient with His people. The grumbling is initially aimed at Moses and Aaron (v2) but their real target is the Lord (v3). They want a new leader and to go back to Egypt (v4).

Moses and Aaron along with Joshua and Caleb, the two good spies, try to encourage the people to be faithful and to enter the land (v5-9). We see great examples of faith in Caleb and Joshua which we should seek to imitate.

The people’s hearts are hard (v10) and the Lord has to gloriously intervene to rescue His faithful people. The Lord speaks words of judgement (v11-12). Moses’ intervention is Christ-like, particularly as a few moments earlier the people were wanting to stone him to death (v13-19).

In Moses’ praying we can learn a number of important things about interceding for others. Moses prays out of a desire for God to be honoured. That is praying God loves to hear. We need to test our motive sin praying and ask, “Have we a longing for God’s glory?” As Moses prays he appeals to the nature of God’s character (v18-19). Moses was intimate with God, he knew what God was like, this encouraged him in his praying. How well do we know God? Do we focus on God’s character as we pray?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.