Second-Guessing God


Be obedient to God and decide not to move on your own.


Lord, help me to fear You and respond to Your discipline. Help me to be willing to learn from the start.


Numbers 14:26-45


What is the Israelites' "presumption" (v. 44)?

Our story wends its way to its despairing conclusion. Chapter 14 was supposed to be the entry into the land, and that would have been that. But, as we have seen, the people are afraid, they refuse to trust, and they rebel.

In today's reading, God visits upon them 40 years of wandering in the wilderness--one year for every day spent scouting out the land on that fateful first trip (13:25). And, suitably chastened at last, the people decide that maybe they should go in after all (14:40).

But it's too late. God has moved on: there's no "direct entry to the land" option still available. Moses sees it straightforwardly: God's word now is that they must accept the consequences of their sin. Forgiveness does not mean that everything goes back to square one.

They go anyway. It's a disaster. Moses saw it coming and called it "disobedience" (41). The mention of the ark in verse 44 reminds us of how the book of Numbers sees it: go when God goes and not in your own time.


Verse 33 says that the people's children will suffer for their disobedience. Consider how your actions affect others.


Father, help me to offer my obedience and decide not to move on my own.

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