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S (Scripture): Numbers 14:1 The entire community raised their voice and the people wept that night. 2 All the Israelites criticized Moses and Aaron. The entire community said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt or if only we had died in this desert! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our children will be taken by force. Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to each other, “Let’s pick a leader and let’s go back to Egypt.”
10b Then the Lord’s glory appeared in the meeting tent to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people disrespect me? And how long will they doubt me after all the signs that I performed among them? 12 I’ll strike them down with a plague and disown them. Then I’ll make you into a great nation, stronger than they.”
19 Please forgive the wrongs of these people because of your absolute loyalty, just as you’ve forgiven these people from their time in Egypt until now.”
20 Then the Lord said, “I will forgive as you requested. But,
25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valley, tomorrow turn and march into the desert by the route of the Reed Sea.”
26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 27 How long will this wicked community complain against me? I’ve heard the Israelites’ dissent as they continue to complain against me. 28 Say to them, “As I live,” says the Lord, “just as I’ve heard you say, so I’ll do to you. 29 Your dead bodies will fall in this desert. None of you who were enlisted and were registered from 20 years old and above, who complained against me, 30 will enter the land in which I promised to settle you, with the exception of Caleb, Jephunneh’s son, and Joshua, Nun’s son. 31 But your children, whom you said would be taken by force, I’ll bring them in and they will know the land that you rejected. 32 Your bodies, however, will fall in this desert, 33 and your children will be shepherds in the desert for forty years. They will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies fall in the desert. 34 For as many days as you explored the land, that is, forty days, just as many years you’ll bear your guilt, that is, forty years. This is how you will understand my frustration.” 35 I the Lord have spoken. I will do this to the entire wicked community who gathered against me. They will die in this desert. There they’ll meet their end.
O (Observation): WOW! Some extremely harsh words from a God who is all-powerful and all-knowing. God gives the people a land…but they’d rather be back in Egypt…enslaved. So they complain to God…and God leaves them to their own devices. God is the one who saves and who lets people choose for themselves how they will live. Of course, choosing one’s own personal desires can cause harm to one’s self and the community.
But instead of focusing on missing the mark, perhaps we have a lesson on faith and trust in the Lord. Let us focus on this: when God provides vision, God also provides provision.
A (Application): I think Israel’s problem can be summed up by a question that Dr. Phil likes to ask: “So how’s that working out for you?”
This question comes when this television personality / counselor speaks to his guests and they share how they decided to heed their own advice, rather than seek wisdom from others. “So how’s that working out for you?”
You wanna provide for yourself? Go for it.
You wanna be enslaved? Let me know how that goes.
What are we doing that goes against God’s call in our lives?
Where is God leading us that we are too scared to follow?
Remember, where God provides VISION, God provides PROVISION! Go for it! Trust in the Lord! God will provide…whether we go straight into our call…or even if it takes “40 years” to get there.
P (Prayer): Lord, call us onward and provide. Amen.