February 13th

Numbers 14-16

  • 14: 1-4 – When things get scary, we often revert to whatever was comfortable even if it was bad for us. For the Israelites it was Egypt.
  • 14:18 – As Moses appeals to the Lord to forgive the Israelites for their continued unfaithfulness, he uses a phrase that people will repeat throughout the Bible, “the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…”.
  • 14:20-25—Moses’ plea for mercy works- instead of wiping them out and starting over with Moses, God settles for keeping them in the desert for 40 years so that the only living Israelite adult who will one day see the Promised Land is Caleb- the only one who didn’t doubt that God would protect them. In other words, God gave them what they wanted: they were afraid to enter the Promised Land, so God says “Fine, you won’t go there- I’ll wait until the next generation replaces you, and take them to the Promised Land.”
  • 15:22-26 – It might be weird for us to think about unintentionally sinning because we normally know when we’re making choices that probably aren’t pleasing to God. They truly might have worn something with mixed fabrics unintentionally or broken some other law that they made a mistake on. God made atonement for these sins fairly easy and universal.
  • 16:15-20—First, Moses is so upset with the Israelites he tells God to ignore their offerings. God’s response is to say “Ok then, go stand over there while I wipe them out”, at which point Moses promptly changes his mind and begs God not to destroy the Israelites. God seems to really like using object lessons to teach people to be careful what they wish for- first he overwhelms them with quail when they want meat, and now when Moses wants the Israelites to suffer God prepares to kill them all- whether or not he was actually going to go through with it isn’t clear, but it seems that Moses learns his lesson.

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