So You Want to Go Back to Egypt?
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 37:21-29 | Numbers 14:1 – 15:16 | Mark 14:53-72 | Proverbs 11:4
Today’s Scripture Focus: Numbers 14:1 – 15:16
“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! …Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?’” (Numbers 14:2-3 NIV).
The people were fed up with the journey; God was fed up with their contempt and unbelief. Moses found himself in a difficult spot.
The people gave in to their unbelief and fears. They had heard the “bad report” of the 10 spies and gave in to their fears. Even though God had been with them so powerfully and had led them right to the doorstep of the Promised Land, they were ready to give up and go back to Egypt.
God too was almost ready to give up on the people of Israel. He said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”
Moses stepped into the difficult spot: he took up the role of intercessor. He stood in the gap on behalf of the people of Israel. He appealed to the glorious reputation of God. “What would the Egyptians say if you abandoned your people after all those miraculous signs?” He appealed to the Character of God as revealed in His promises, “the Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.”
God heard Moses intercession. He punished the sin, but didn’t give up on his people. The next generation would be able to enter into the promise.
Being an intercessor is not easy, but it is necessary. Don’t become weary in your intercession. Persevere, believe, and plead your case. God’s work and will is accomplished through prayer.
The people then presumed upon the grace of God. They spent a day in mourning and supposed that God would then be with them. They went in to try to take the Promised Land. But they had waited too long to obey—giving in to their fear and unbelief had kept them from the promise. A day earlier they could have gone in, but now they were under the judgment of God. Now all they could do was wander around aimlessly in the desert until the unbelieving generation had died off.
Don’t miss out on the promise. Don’t procrastinate your obedience. Don’t give in to your fear and unbelief. You may miss out on the blessing.
Gracious Heavenly Father, help me never to become a grumbler, a complainer. Help me to look forward with expectation rather than look backward with regret. May the joy set before me overcome my doubts and fears. Amen.