What opportunity is God offering Moses in the face of this rebellion? Read Numbers 14.11-12.
God is offering to destroy the Israelites and make a whole new nation with Moses as the father of them all.
How does Moses respond to this outright rebellion, not simply against him but against God? (Numbers 14:13-19).
This is the moment that we can see the true man of God. Moses’ answer, frozen into time, anticipates the Intercessor who, more than 1,400 years later, would pray for His disciples in their afflictions (John 17). Indeed, in what Moses did here, many theologians and Bible students have seen an example of what Christ does for us. Their guilt, our guilt, is not even questioned. And yet, Moses pleads, saying, “according to the greatness of Your mercy” (Numbers 14:19), please forgive these people. And just as the Lord did then because of Moses’ intercession, thus He does for us because of Jesus, because of His death and resurrection and intercession for us.
Thus, Moses pleads: “Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now” (Numbers 14:19). Grace combats rebellion and restlessness at its core. Forgiveness offers new beginnings.
Yet there are costs. Grace can never be cheap. Though forgiven, the people will face the consequences of their rebellions, and that generation will not enter into the promised land (Numbers 14:20-23).
Yes, God will sustain them for another 38 years in the wilderness. He will feed them. He will speak to them from the sanctuary. He will be at their side in the wilderness. But then they will die, and a new generation will have to pick up the baton and find rest in the Promised Land.
It sounds like judgment; yet, it really is grace. How would this generation be able to conquer Canaan’s powerful city-states if they had not yet learned to trust Him? How would they be a light to the nations when they themselves were stumbling in the darkness?
|What hard lessons have you learned about the consequences of forgiven sin?|