Welcome Back to the Bible Blog!
As I was preparing to write this seventh blog entry, I was thinking about the many parallels with Exodus and the constant intervention of Moses. Don’t these scenes seem to repeat themselves?
Things seem to begin well as the offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle seem to indicate that all of Israel was fully following and fully dedicated to God (if you can overlook the Kohathite situation in chapter 4). In fact we’re told that, “the Israelites did all this just as the LORD commanded” (Numbers 1:54 and similarly in Numbers 2:34).
So it seems things are off to a good start, but just as they grumbled at Mt. Sinai when Moses took too long on the mountain and they made a golden calf to worship, they began to grumble again (Numbers 11). This time it is their appetites that aren’t satisfied.
When are our appetites ever satisfied in this world?
There is the rebellion and complaining about food just as when they first left Egypt. There is the intervention of Moses, to protect the lives of the people of Israel and to protect the reputation of God (actually, as pointed out before, Moses is a type of Messiah, a type of the one to come… namely, Jesus).
There is the faithfulness of Joshua and Caleb and the fear and rebellion of the rest of Israel (Numbers 14-15). Did you notice that the children, those innocent of the actual crime, had to pay the punishment as well? There was forgiveness, but the consequence of their parents’ actions was not removed, not even from them. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” (Romans 14:7 – RSV). In other words, what you do affects others!
As I was thinking about these parallels between the Exodus and the constant intervention of Moses (a precursor to Jesus), I was reminded about an unexpected hospital visit I made a few years ago. You see, I was an on-call Chaplain at our hospital in Burlington and one night when I was on-call I had the following encounter.
I was called to the bedside of an elderly lady who was at the end of her 4-year battle with lung cancer. The day before she was alert and talking with her whole family, complaining about the gas prices on the news even though she’d never driven a day in her life, according to her daughter. This night she was in the ICU beginning Hospice care, as she was so surrounded by her family that many of us could not find room to sit.
Her daughter was quick to tell me that she’d been a life-long believer and valued prayer very highly. Surrounded by her family I could picture Jesus preparing her room, almost ready for her arrival.
Here she is, this sinner at death’s door, surrounded by sinners in agony at the anticipation of her inevitable departure, being prayed over by a sinner who’s just been introduced to her and knows nothing about her except that she’s loved by many.
Then there’s Jesus! Preparing a place for her, coming soon to get her. Oh there are many rooms in His Father’s mansion and due to His great love for us, His sacrifice for us; He now intercedes for us just as Moses did for Israel, to protect us and to bring His Father Glory!
This pattern of sin, rebellion, repentance and restoration is repeated again and again throughout the Bible, I believe, to demonstrate not only God’s amazing grace and love for us, but through this to give us hope that He has always understood our fallen nature and wants us to understand His great patience, love and mercy.
He is, as Moses put it, “slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion…In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now” (Numbers 14:18-19).
Have you come to understand what He has done for you?
Have you confessed the multiple ways you’ve messed up and asked Him to forgive you?… to lead you?… to change you?… have you committed to following Him?
Since the time of being rescued from your “Egypt” have you once again grumbled from an ungrateful and unsatisfied appetite?
I don’t know about you, but I am sure grateful that He is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. If He weren’t, who among us could stand?
“The LORD bless you and keep you…
The LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you…
The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
(The Aaronic Blessing, Numbers 6:24-26)
What’s on your mind this week?…
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