Numbers 14:1-45

Number 14:4 – A Little Late


I.    Verse 1-4 - The despair of the people.

A.     This despair is unnecessary.

1.       All they have to do is believe the promises of God.

2.       They must look beyond the circumstances of life to the things God has for them.

3.       Most of our despair is also unnecessary.

4.       We must look beyond the circumstances of life to the things God has for us.

B.     All of the people are weeping.

1.       Many times people are united toward the common bad, but seldom united toward the common good.

2.       All of the people are wrong.  If they had taken a vote, the outcome would have been error.

3.       We must not go by the majority opinion, for the majority can be wrong.

4.       We must go by what God says, for He is a majority, even though He is one.

C.     As miraculous as it may seem, the children don't seem to be bothered by their parents crying.

1.       God will keep them and let them (by grace) go into the promised land.

2.       Without the grace of God, the children would not possess the promised land.

D.     They wept at night.

1.       This is the easiest time for me to become discouraged.

2.       Satan is the power of darkness, and he affects people more at night.

E.      They begin to murmur against Moses and Aaron.

1.       The people say the leaders are at fault, but are they?

2.       Have Moses and Aaron done anything wrong?

3.       The people are the ones that are wrong, but because of sin, we all want to blame somebody else for our troubles.  (Gen. 3:11-13)

4.       The people stand before God's chosen men and pray to die in Egypt.

5.       If they really wanted to die, all they have to do is go into Canaan and try to take the land.  (This is according to their belief!!)  They really don't want to die, do they?  They'd rather complain.

6.       This prayer will be granted.  The people will die in the wilderness.  We must be careful of our prayers, God may grant them!

7.       Note: The people don't pray to God, but to Moses and Aaron.  But God hears and answers their prayers.

F.      Next the people complain about the way God is leading them.

1.       They do not understand that sometimes the way is hard, and long.

2.       It is not wrong to not understand, but it is wrong to blame God.

G.     They say they desire to protect their wives and children, but they want to protect themselves.

1.       The wives follow their husbands, thus they are under the condemnation of God.

2.       The children are to young to be responsible, thus God excuses them.

3.       The children are the ones that will inhabit the promised land, not the complainers.

4.       Isn't this true today?  Don't the faithful and those not responsible possess the greatest gifts of God in eternity?  Doesn't God judge those lazy "Christians" and allow them into heaven, "saved, yet so as by fire"?

H.     Appoint a captain.

1.       It doesn't say so here, but in Nehemiah 9:17, the bible says they did appoint a captain to lead them back into Egypt.

2.       All jobs not appointed by God will fail.  Either now or in eternity.

I.        What has Israel forgotten about Egypt?

1.       They forgot the death of the firstborn in Egypt.

2.       They forgot those just recently dead because of murmuring against God.

3.       They forgot that Egypt is not the same.

a.      Pharaoh is dead.

b.      The army is dead.

c.      Egypt is a barren, destitute land, full of people that will fall on them and kill them for the Egyptians believe that all their troubles are Israel's fault.

d.      In truth, Israel believes they are between a rock and a hard place.  They cannot go back to Egypt, for death awaits them there, and they believe they cannot forward, for death awaits them there.


II.    Verse 5-10 - The hope of the people.

A.     There are four men against at least 2,000,000 people.

1.       These are the leaders of the people.

2.       Let us also remember that there were 12 leaders sent as spies.  Ten of these leaders cause Israel to go against God.

B.     These four men do all in their power to cause Israel to obey God.

1.       Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before the people.  (I believe Moses and Aaron are praying for the people.)

2.       Joshua and Caleb remind the people of God's promises.

3.       Joshua and Caleb remind the people of the goodness of the land.

4.       Joshua and Caleb tell the people they are rebelling against God, not against Moses and Aaron.

5.       Joshua and Caleb know the defense of Canaan is gone.  God has taken care of the land and the people.

6.       If only Israel would listen to the promises of God.

7.       If only we would listen to the promises of God!


III.    Verse 10 - The result of reminding rebels of the promises of God.

A.     They did listen, but they didn't like it.

B.     The congregation began to make plans to stone them.

1.       Rebels don't want to hear the promises of God.

2.       If we remind them of God's promises, their desire is to kill us.

3.       They have such a hatred of God's promises because this is something they cannot do.  They must trust in God instead.  This is totally against their nature.

4.       What do you think of the promises of God?

C.     The only thing that saved Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb is the intervention of God Himself.

1.       The only thing that saves us from the people of the world is that God intervenes and takes care of us.

2.       They cannot hurt us for God won't let them.


IV.    Verse 11-20 - God's wrath and Moses's prayer.  (See Exodus 32:7-14 for a discussion of a passage of this type.)

A.     Verse 10-12 - God's wrath.

1.       In verse 10, the glory of God appears in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.  But He doesn't appear as before.  The cloud is not there.

a.      The cloud shows that God does not reveal Himself in His complete person.

b.      When Jesus appears with the cloud, His wrath is hidden and His mercy revealed.

c.      Now He appears without the cloud for He comes in wrath.

2.       Because they will not believe the promises of God, He is ready to destroy them.

a.      Sometimes, we think the promises of God are optional, but they aren't.

b.      If we don't believe and act on the promises of God, he will judge us.

3.       He has given many signs for their benefit.

a.      The ten signs of plagues in Egypt.

b.      The crossing of the Red Sea.

c.      The signs accompanied His presence on Mt. Sinai.

d.      Feeding and giving of water.

e.      The leprosy of Miriam because of her disobedience.

f.       The death of those that lusted.

4.       God will destroy Israel and make a greater nation of Moses.

a.      This is the same thing God talked about in Ex. 32:10.

b.      This is Moses' opportunity to become a great nation.

c.      Moses doesn't take this, instead his descendants are practically unknown.

5.       Is it possible for God to disinherit Israel?

a.      yes.  Heb. 9:16,17 - In order for a testament to be in force, there must be the death of the testator.

b.      Christ hasn't died when this is written.

c.      The promise God gave to Abraham would still be kept, because Moses is a descendant of Abraham.  The people involved in the promise would be the only thing that is different.

B.     Moses reply.

1.       The Egyptians will hear it.  (And sinners always hear the good and bad of God's people.)

2.       The Egyptians will tell others.  (And sinners will gleefully tell others when God's people are in trouble.)

3.       Then everybody will say that God couldn't bring Israel into the promised land.  This would be a lie, but sinners are more apt to believe a lie than the truth.

4.       Moses next desires that everybody would see the power of God.  This could be done by bringing this wicked and sinful people into the promised land.  Moses is saying that there is more power in forgiving than in vengeance.

a.      Isn't this the plan of salvation?

b.      Doesn't God show more power in saving hopelessly rebellious people than He does in destroying them?

c.      Anybody can destroy those that rebel against them, but only God can redeem them.

C.     God's reply.

1.       God will forgive them, but He will reveal His glory to everybody.

2.       God also forgives us, but also reveals His glory.

3.       This is done by God putting His wrath on His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

4.       The gospel religion has been perverted into many false gospels.  The true gospel story has been perverted into many false gospels.

D.     Now for the complicated question - Did Moses change God's mind?

1.       The Bible says that God repents.  But He doesn't repent like others.

a.      Num. 23:19 - Balaam says that God does not repent.

b.      I Sam. 15:29 - Samuel says that God does not repent.

c.      Jeremiah 18:1-10 - God is the potter and He will do what He wants with the clay.

d.      I Chron. 28:9 - David telling Solomon that if he serves God, God will bless him, but if he rebels, God will judge him.

2.       The Bible says that God does repent.

a.      Gen. 6:6 - In the days of Noah.

b.      I Sam. 15:35 - About Saul being King.

c.      Ps. 106:45 - God repenting because of His mercies.

d.      Amos 7:3 - Stopped grasshoppers from eating.

e.      Jonah 3:10 - God changed toward Ninevah.  (The end result is the same.)

f.       II Kings 20:1-7 - God revealing His secret will to Hezekiah.

3.       This "repenting" means that God changed His mind, that He changes His way of working with a particular people or problem.

4.       Did Moses actually change God's mind?  NO!!

a.      God already knew what He and Moses were going to do.

b.      This scene takes place in language borrowed from human language and passion.  (This is so we can more fully understand how we ought to pray to god.)

c.      This shows that our praying does have a bearing on God.  (For example: a lost person is going to hell, but saved people pray that God would have mercy on him.  Shouldn't we do this?)

d.      We don't change God's mind.  We cannot counsel with Him, but He desires us to bring Him our problems so He can work them out.

5.       In this case, God goes to the next step in dealing with rebels.  He begins to chastise them.  He does this in such a way that the entire world knows what He has done, and why He has done it.  God will now get more glory out of rebellion than He would have without the rebellion.

6.       Ps. 76:10 - Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain.  Isn't this the truth?!


V.    Verse 20-25 - God's reply to Moses (note that none of the Israelites hear this).

A.     I will pardon according to your word.

B.     God will chasten Israel.

1.       Because they had plenty of evidence of God's ability.

2.       Since they saw the miracles, they shall not see the promised land.

3.       Those that have received more shall be held accountable for more.  This is true today.

4.       Only Joshua and Caleb will go into the promised land.

5.       The command is given to turn from the promised land toward the wilderness.

6.       This is the very first time Israel heads in a direction away from the promised land.

C.     Verse 25 - The ten spies which brought the evil report died in some sort of plague sent upon them by God.

1.       All Israel knew they died because of their evil report.

2.       Therefore all Israel figured they had better do what God commanded.

3.       Only it was too late.


VI.    Verse 26-35 - What God tells Moses and Aaron to tell the people.

A.     God has heard their prayer and will answer it.

1.       Verse 2 - Israel thought they were only complaining to Moses, but it was before God.

2.       All their carcasses shall fall in the wilderness.

3.       Verse 29 - The numbering at the beginning of this book which was supposed to be for victory is now turned into defeat.

4.       Verse 31 - Their children, whom they thought they were protecting, are the ones that will go into the promised land.

5.       Verse 33 - The children shall bear the whoredoms.  We don't think of rebellion as whoredom, but God does.  We think adultery is the worse sin, but God doesn't.  Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, I Sam. 25:23.

6.       Verse 34 - They shall wander in the wilderness for 40 years, a year for every day of searching out the land.

B.     Verse 36-38 - The confirmation of the judgment

1.       The ten spies which brought an evil report died before the Lord in His plague.

2.       Joshua and Caleb lived still.

3.       This ought to be vivid evidence that this thing is of God, and is the truth.


VII.    The affect of this message on Israel.

A.     They mourned greatly.

1.       It's too late for mourning.

2.       They didn't repent.

3.       They didn't ask God to forgive them, and turn away from His wrath.

B.     They decided to rebel further against God by trying to go into Canaan now.

1.       They did not intend to rebel against God.

2.       But since they didn't repent or ask forgiveness, it is counted as rebellion.

3.       They continue to disregard the advice of Moses.

C.     Verse 44 - They did not take the Ark of God with them.  The Ark is a symbol of the presence of God.

D.     They are leaving Moses, God's leader for them, behind.  Moses had refused to go with the rebels.

E.      They are utterly defeated, because God is not with them.

1.       They feared defeat, now they have it.

2.       They wouldn't be defeated if they had followed God's commands.

3.       The same thing is true for us.  The only reason we suffer defeat is because we do not follow the plain commands of God.  We ought to obey his promises.