I know this is late and actually Tuesday morning, but that is the result of a visit to the ER Monday afternoon when I was in distress for a period of time. Cause unknown or yet to be determined. Nonetheless they let me go home, so look for Tuesday’s verse to be out on Tuesday. Shalom – RileyD, nwJ
July 29, 2020 – Monday
10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat Me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?
12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.
Gosh, there is a whole going on the verses above. Before we get to the Lord’s question to Moses in verse 11, let’s ask who the whole assembly was talking about stoning and why. After that seems to precipitate God’s appearance at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
The ones they wanted to stone numbered two. They were Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and they were among those who explored the promised land. There were twelve that went and ten came back fearful and afraid. We read at the end of chapter 13 just how afraid they were 31 “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” As a result the whole assembly became filled with fear and even talked about returning to Egypt.
That’s when Joshua and Caled addressed the assembly saying 7 “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” But their words were not enough to overcome the fear created by the reports of the other ten who were so frightened. Thus not wanting to give any credence to the report of Caleb and Joshua, they talked of stoning them. That’s when the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites and He was not happy.
The first thing the Lord said to Moses was How long will these people treat Me with contempt? They chose to believe those who were fearful. They did not believe Caleb and Joshua who had rejected the first reports and the fear they engendered. Instead they stated clearly do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them and concerning the giants Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.
That’s when the Lord asked His question How long will they refuse to believe in Me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? They seemed to have no faith or little faith in Him even after He had freed them from slavery in Egypt. Certainly their faith was too little to listen to Caleb and Joshua. God was so angry He was ready to destroy them and fulfill His promises through Moses instead.
Then in verses 17-19 Moses intercedes for Israel instead in a powerful prayer appealing to God’s forgiveness, mercy, and predilection for long suffering. Moses concludes with Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. In doing so Moses reveals his own heart where he does not choose glory, but chooses the people of Israel. What we see throughout is that Moses’ heart is first of all God centered and then other centered. Something clearly pleasing to God as He grants Moses’ desire and Israel is spared when the Lord said, 20 I have forgiven them, as you asked. Moses’ prayer mattered.
Nonetheless, there would be punishment for the unbelief of Israel. There would be 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. All of which leads me to wonder when we seem to be wandering aimlessly in our lives, our spiritual lives, have we not listened and not believed when He provided a clear path or clear instructions on what we were to do or not to do. A self-examination of sorts is surely in order with plenty of prayer to find out.