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Notes on Numbers 14-15

Once again, the children of Israel are complaining about their situation (Numbers 14). Their lack of patience is exactly what we deal with on a day to day basis. God promised them something, and it did not happen on THEIR time, so THEY are unhappy. This is what we all do. We want something NOW and we give no consideration to God’s divine timing.

These guys even discussed going back to Egypt where they were slaves (v. 4). Could you imagine a group of people giving up their sovereignty and freedom to RETURN to slavery? I can, because it happens to all of us every single day. It seems to me that at least half of our country would be happy to sacrifice freedom for forced servitude.

These ungrateful children of Israel would rather die in bondage than live free, because freedom is incredibly difficult. That is why we take it for granted.

God wants to kill all the Israelites and start fresh with Moses and Aaron’s offspring (v. 11-12). Moses, once again interceding for his people, is able to talk God into being merciful. Instead of outright killing all the children of Israel, God killed those who murmured against him (v. 32), and cursed the remaining Israelites to wander in the wilderness for FORTY YEARS (v. 33)!

One of the worst teachings in a modern church is that “God is love” without putting that into context. God gets angry. God gets so angry that he’s willing to commit genocide against the people that he chose to be blessed among all the nations.

This is the God that atheists and anti-Christians mock relentlessly. When stand-up comedians make jokes on stage or when your co-workers call you a fool for your beliefs, they are “murmuring” against the God that killed his own people and forced their children to wander a desert for half a lifetime.

A man violated the Sabbath by picking up some sticks (Num. 15:32), so God commanded that the Israelites stone him to death (v. 35-36). He was killed for we would consider a simple violation of the law given by the God whom our media mocks every day.

When we, as a nation, turn our backs on God, he will leave us (Num. 14:43). This is a side of the God of love that our churches want to pretend doesn’t exist.

Jesus Christ, like Moses in these passages, stands before God the Father and pleads for our lives. Rather than accept his mercy, we continue to murmur. Those of us to turn down the free gift of salvation will die and wander in Hell for all eternity. Those who accept Christ as Savior will have the God who defeated the gods, the giants, and Satan himself on our side.

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