Old Testament Reading: Numbers 14 & 15
Psalms Reading: Psalm 66
New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 3
Today’s reading in Numbers takes us back to the scene of the Israelite crimes of complaining, grumbling, and not trusting God. If you have been reading in Numbers at all this week, you will know we’ve seen plenty of these in action already, and Numbers 14-15 is full of plenty more. It is interesting to consider that it’s not like the Israelites’ negativities had been ignored or that they were serving them well up until now. It had been the complete opposite, and there had been plenty of consequences already. Smitten with a plague with quail still in their teeth, a fire sent down from the LORD, Miriam struck with a leprous disease, delayed travels in the desert, etc. Yet, the Israelites were at it again.
In verse 3 we see a phrase that I am guessing hits close to home. “Why did the LORD…?”.
In this case, the Israelites weren’t asking, “If the LORD is real, why did he….” They knew he was real and didn’t doubt that. But, as believers in the LORD, like us, they struggled to trust Him when things were tough and when they couldn’t see what our sovereign God knows. They focused on their doubts, worries, discomforts, and did not humble themselves and rely on God who had told them what His plans were for them. Along the way, things were hard. It is a broken, imperfect world full of problems just like the desert wilderness. Sometimes they are beyond our control. Sometimes they are because of our attempts to control. Enemies are real. Plagues and diseases are still a thing. Sin is rampant. But, while problems can seem to prevent us from seeing anything else sometimes, even then, we have an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly loving Father taking care of us through it all.
And so did the Israelites. Reading further in chapter 14 we see Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua seeking to follow God even through the difficulties, and encouraging others. We see the LORD forgiving when asked in verse 20, and eventually, some Israelites did get to the promised land! Canaan still had some problems as far as promised lands go, but the promised land awaiting us in the coming kingdom of God is one without tears, sickness, and sorrow. Nothing to grumble and complain about at all.
Let us trust God to know best since compared to Him . . .we know a lot less! I like the last verse in Numbers 15 to help facilitate trust, love, and honor toward God. Even in the hard stuff.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.”
(Numbers 15:41, NIV)
- Seriously consider your own negativity. In what situations, and toward whom, do you find your negativity festering or exploding? How is this affecting your relationship with others and with God? Spend some time talking to God about this problem and what you can do to improve.
- How has the Lord shown Himself – and His desire and supreme qualifications to be your God – in your life thus far? What has He brought you out of? (Numbers 15:41)? What has He brought you into? Trusting in Him, what is yet to come?
- What do you know about the Lord your God because of your reading in His Scriptures today?