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Daily Devotions – The people play it safe

Numbers 14:1-11 (ESV)

The People Rebel

14 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.

11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?

The Israelites had a choice: believe Joshua and Caleb, who said that with God’s help, they could move into Canaan (14:6-9), or believe the ten unfaithful scouts (14:1-4). The people made the wrong choice (14:10-11). They chose safety of their own making, instead of facing  danger with God’s help. God gives them a punishment to fit the crime. Since they refused to move through danger toward life, God makes them wander in the desert for the another 39 years, until all of the doubters and complainers are dead (14:29). Try to imagine camping in a tent and sleeping on the ground for the rest of your life. Try to imagine wandering in circles until you die. That’s what happens when we fail to trust God enough to push through danger toward life