Numbers 14

All the dangers that we are in are from our own distrust.
We would succeed against all enemies if we did not make God our enemy.
We are excluded from God’s blessing only by excluding ourselves.

1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

6 ¶ And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

11 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

13 ¶ And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)

14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

15 ¶ Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,

16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,

18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:

21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

26 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.

28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:

29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,

30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.

32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.

33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.

34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.

35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,

37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.

38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.

39 And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.

40 ¶ And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.

41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.

42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.

43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.

44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.

45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

Numbers 14:1-12 – An Unbelieving and Rebellious People

   What in any other nation would have been described as a panic of fear, was, in the case of Israel, a panic of unbelief, which deserved the reproachful expostulation of Jehovah in Numbers 14:11. The transition is easy from unbelief to open rebellion against God, as expressed in the words, “Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt” (Numbers 14:4). The connection between the fearful and unbelieving is very close, Revelation 21:8. On the other hand, we have the exhortation of II Peter 1:5, “Add to your faith virtue,” as exemplified in the language of Joshua and Caleb. But their words of faith and encouragement only elicited hatred and murder.
   Compare Numbers 14:10 with Genesis 4:4 and Hebrews 11:4. God’s two stalwart witnesses did not minimize the strength or the numbers of the foe, but magnified the mighty power pledged to fulfill the ancient covenant with Abraham: “The LORD is with us: fear them not” (Numbers 14:9). He cannot fail the trustful soul! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 14:13-25 – Pardon by Moses’ Intercession

   Moses was free from selfish ambition. His one thought was for the glory of God. When for a moment the suggestion presented itself to his mind that his own seed should take the place of this rebellious race he instantly dismissed it. It was not to be entertained for a moment, lest the Egyptians make capital of it. He had no desire to be the ancestor of a great nation, if it would tarnish the divine honor. He would rather be consigned to oblivion himself than that one jewel in the glorious galaxy of God’s glory should be bedimmed.
   There were three arguments in his intercession: God’s reputation, God’s consistency with Himself and God’s mercy. Methinks I hear the voice of the Supreme Mediator these pleadings! His prayer was heard, but the generation that believed not could not enter the land. You may escape Egypt and yet miss Canaan. See Hebrews 3:12-19. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 14:13—The Egyptians shall hear it.

   What a noble concern for the credit of God! Here was a great opportunity for Moses. God was testing him by the proposal, that, the entire nation of Israel being cut off as a judgment for their repeated shortcomings and transgressions, Moses should become the slip or stock of the Hebrew race: “I will… disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they” (Numbers 14:12). This was not the settled purpose of God; but a suggestion to test His servant, who would not entertain it for a moment. All thought of the honor to be done to himself was submerged in his great eagerness for the Divine credit. “The Egyptians shall hear it… the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the LORD was not able…” (Numbers 14:13, 15-16).
   The Egyptians are always around us, watching and listening. They can only judge of God by our behavior and the course of our experience: and are only too ready to catch up anything which they may interpret to the discrediting of the Eternal. How careful we should be in all our life and conversation so that the ungodly may have, not lower, but loftier conceptions of our God.
   When tempted to anything which is not perfectly noble and honorable; when inclined to murmur and complain of God’s dealings with you; when an opportunity comes, as it did to Moses, to make gain at the expense of others; then remember the name of God, and the urgency of need that exists, to maintain it unsullied and untarnished. We should be restrained by a double fear: first, lest we should grieve God; second, lest the Egyptians should have a handle against Him, and should be prejudiced against religion. —Our Daily Homily

Numbers 14:26-45 – The Penalty of Unbelief and Rashness

   God’s promises are conditional on our faith. He cannot do what we fail to trust Him to do.
   The key of faith will unlock every drawer and cupboard in the divine treasury, but we must use it. If we will not trust God with our life we shall be left to perish in the wilderness of drought, of restlessness and of peril. Unbelief paralyzes God’s arm. See Matthew 13:58, And let us learn from the closing paragraph that the might of our own right hand will never avail to accomplish what is forfeited by unbelief. “It shall not prosper” (Numbers 14:41). —Through the Bible Day by Day