Daily Bible Reading for September 1, 2014, with Commentary: Numbers 13-16
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Context: As we will learn later in Deuteronomy, God did not require that spies be sent out to the Promised Land, but it was a request of the Israelites. It was unnecessary. God knew the land He was giving them. The Israelites showed a lack of faith. The names of who went exploring were recorded, for, later, all except two, became fearful of what they saw, causing the people to refuse to enter the land, doubting the Lord when He told them their enemies would fall. It is no light matter to doubt the Lord’s promises, which is what Israel did. As punishment, all those who did not believe and were over the age of 20, would not enter the Promised Land. Facing the prospect of wandering around the desert, the Israelites tried to change their mind, but God held to His judgment and attempts to enter the Promised Land were thwarted by attacks. Chapter 15 contains the instructions for entering the Promised Land in 40 years time. Chapter 15 also shows the penalty for breaking any of the 10 Commandments - death. To God a sin is a sin, there is no difference. God provided a way to help the people remember that they are His children and that they are set apart. Chapter 16 occurs during the time spent in the wilderness, although we do not know how long the Israelites had been wandering. A prominent Levite priest, Korah, was leading a rebellion. Korah laid false charges against Moses out of jealousy. Korah is actually guilty of doing what he accuses Moses of doing; taking too much upon himself, responsibility which was not given by the Lord! Although the people may have thought they were complaining against Moses in Aaron, they were complaining against God because He appointed them. Since Korah and his followers attempted to divid the nation of Israel, God divided the earth and it swallowed them. Not everyone is called by God to be a leader or hold a prominent position. We are to perform the task asked of us and not assume more. The next morning the Israelites blame Moses and Aaron for murder! Moses, however, intervenes for them with the Lord. What a man he must have been!