Sunday, April 3, 2011
Numbers picks up where Exodus left off, the Israelites are making their way in the wilderness. There really isn't much change in the attitudes of the people, the are still complaining, doubting, and forgetting God's promise. "We are so tired of this mana... every day its mana! We want something else" they say instead of "Thanks for providing us with a miracle every day that sustains us!" So instead of obliterating them (like I might with my own kids by this time) what does God do... he sends them quail! This just further showed me how patient and loving a God I have.
Numbers, does just that, number (count) the people of each tribe. I didn't realize how many people there were in the camp; 603,550 was the number of males 20 years or older- those of fighting age. Because there were so many people, it required a lot of organization, which God outlined through out the book of Numbers.
The most well known story of Numbers is when they finally draw near the promise land and send scouts to report on the land. All but 2 come back with a doubtful report, saying there was no way they would be able to take over the land as the inhabitants were giants, only two said that with God on their side it they could do it. Once again these Israelites show doubt in their God who had lead their way as a cloud and a pillar of fire, sent mana every day, provided water from rocks, parted the Red Sea, decimated all of Egypt... and for their doubt they were not aloud to enter the land God had promised them, and they wondered the wilderness for the next 40 years.
It just made me think... how much am I missing out on, how much time am I spending in my own wilderness because of my own doubt?
I also didn't realize that neither Aaron nor Moses were aloud to enter the promise land. Here were the two people that were closest to God in the whole camp, the people whom God had chose to speak through, showed doubt in God (20:12), they too were denied entry to the promise land. The most amazing thing to me is that neither of these men threw their hands up and said "I Quit!" they continued to serve and lead the people, giving them instructions, until the day they died. How many of us continue to do our job well after we know we won't be receiving the reward we were promised?
(Disclaimer: I believe that the Bible is the living word of God, to me this means that what I receive, or gain in understanding, is meant for me based on my experiences and where I am at at this moment. I know when I read through the bible again some day, what I understood, or came to light for me this, year will most likely be different then what I discover then.)