Num 14:11-45 – Moses Intercedes for the People

Christian MölkNumbers Leave a Comment

Num 14:11-12

  1. God now gives up speaking to the people of Israel and speaks directly to Moses. If Israel did not listen to what God said before, they will not listen to what God will say now.
    1. Sometimes, as a believer, I wonder why God no longer speaks to me. It could be for a variety of reasons, but one of the reasons could be that God has spoken in the past, but we have refused to listen.
  2. God considers fulfilling Israel’s prayer to “die here in the wilderness” rather than enter the Promised Land, and then to create a new people from Moses. There is a real possibility that God will do this, depending on what Moses will now answer God.

Num 14:15-19

  1. Moses’ response to God shows great leadership! Moses shows that he knows God’s heart.
    1. Moses is the leader of the people and as a consequence defends the people, despite their rebellion.
    2. Moses is a servant of God and as a consequence defends the glory of God, despite God’s suggestion.
  2. Moses knows that if God kills all the people of Israel, Egypt will think that God is a weak god who was not able to bring the people into the land of Canaan, which he had promised to do. Moses does not want the other nations around to have the slightest chance of believing that God is not a God who keeps his word.
  3. The key to Moses’ success in “persuading” God to forgive is that Moses refers to what God himself has said. Moses reminds God that God is a forgiving God, and that God cannot renege on his own word or deny himself.
    1. In the same way, we should learn to pray by referring to who God is. For example:
      1. “God, I know that you are a forgiving God full of love, forgive me now for the sins I have done.”
      2. “God, I know you are the God of miracles, now I need a miracle from you.”
      3. “God, I know that you want to give the power of the Spirit to those who testify about Jesus, fill me now with your Holy Spirit so that I dare to testify boldly!”
  4. The way Moses responds to God, i.e., invoking God’s own love for God’s people, shows that Moses has come to know God so much that he has also come to have God’s heart for God’s people.
    1. The more we spend time with God, the more we get to know God and become more and more like God in his way of being.

Num 14:20-24

  1. God’s response to Moses’ defense of the people is to let the people of Israel die but preserve Caleb who believed in God. In this way, everyone gets what they wanted, Israel, God and Moses. 
  2. God forgave Israel “according to the word of Moses”. Clearly, Moses’ prayer for Israel was decisive in how God would act.
    1. Sometimes it’s hard to see exactly the consequences of our prayers, but we can trust that they are always important and that God hears and acts in some way.
  3. For the moment, and for the next 40 years, there was not much difference between Caleb and the rest of Israel; they all had to wander in the desert for 40 years. But in the long run, Caleb’s strong faith and stance was the difference between seeing God’s promises fulfilled or not.
    1. Our faith and the choices we make here and now affect our future and whether or not we will enter heaven.
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