24 February 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Numbers 13-19

As the Israelites approach the Promised Land, God tells Moses to send 12 spies (one from each tribe) into the land to survey it. The 12 spies see the same things, yet 10 of the spies give a bad report. They are fearful and believe they cannot overtake the land, even though God already promised it to them. Of the 12 spies, only Joshua and Caleb had faith that God would give them the land.

The 12 spies influence the rest of the people to believe their report of the land. The 12 spies focus on their fear, they doubt God’s word and they create discouragement in the people. Joshua and Caleb focus on God and His promises.

The people want to choose a new leader and return to Egypt. God approaches Moses and threatens to strike down the people. Moses pleads with God. God condemns the people to wander 40 years in the desert and to die there. Only the next generation, including Joshua and Caleb, will enter the Promised Land.

Korah, a respected leader in the tribe of Levi, leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Korah doesn’t want to be behind the scenes but wants a high-level leadership position like Moses.

Moses tells Korah and his followers to bring censers and incense before the Lord. They should not have done this because presenting the censers to God was a special privilege reserved for the priests. God opens the ground, swallowing Korah and his followers. The people grumble again and accuse Moses and Aaron of killing these rebels. God sends a plague against the rebels. Then Aaron makes atonement for the people’s sins, asking God to forgive the people.

Next, God uses a supernatural incident to confirm Aaron as the high priest. One leader from each of the 12 tribes puts a staff in the Tent of Meeting. The next day, Aaron’s staff had sprouted, budded, blossomed and produced almonds. This proves to the people that Aaron is chosen by God. Then God details the blessings He will give to the priests as rewards for serving Him.

Finally, in chapter 19, God instructs the Israelites how to cleans someone who was ceremonially unclean through contacting an impurity like a dead body. This ceremonial cleansing pointed to God cleanses our spiritual impurities through Jesus’ death.

Things to Think About

  • Do I exaggerate the truth like the 10 spies?
  • What causes fear in me? Remember that God is bigger and stronger than any fear I have.
  • Don’t let difficulties blind us from God’s power.
  • We must not allow the voice of the crowd to override the voice of truth. To whose voice am I listening?
  • Korah aspired to a better leadership position. Which aspiration do I need to put to death because it is keeping me from doing what God has called me to do?
  • Am I a humble leader like Moses? Do I intercede on behalf of the people in my life?