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May 2017 Issue

Faith and Faithlessness in the Desert

Devotions

  • Yesterday

    Settling the Land East of the Jordan River
  • Today

    Reviewing Israel’s Desert Journey
  • Tomorrow

    Future Boundaries and Cities of Refuge
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Devotion for Saturday, May 13, 2017

Israel’s Faithlessness and Disobedience at the Border

Read Numbers 14

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This whole wicked community . . . will meet their end in this wilderness. Numbers 14:35

Born in 1809, Kit Carson was one of the most famous scouts and frontiersmen in American history. He helped guide the westward journeys of explorers, fought on the Union side during the Civil War, and advocated for the creation of reservations, arguing they would save Native Americans from extinction. But he also fought against them, including brutally removing the Navajo people from their traditional lands.

Among the twelve scouts or spies sent into Canaan, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who delivered their report in faith. The Israelites’ complaining and rebellious spirit had warped their perspective to the point where they seriously thought death in Egypt would have been preferable to entering Canaan and trusting God to keep His promises (v. 2). They even talked about picking a new leader and returning to the country that had enslaved them for four centuries (v. 4).

This was pathetic and sad and funny, but mainly tragic. Their words and actions insulted the Lord. Confounded by this incredible sin, Moses and Aaron fell facedown before God, once again interceding for the people. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in grief and tried again to persuade Israel to obey. In response, the nation doubled down on its sinful foolishness and suggested stoning the two of them (vv. 6–11).

In response, God righteously and angrily proposed wiping out Israel and starting fresh with Moses. But Moses passionately interceded, not on the basis of what the people deserved but on the basis of God’s character, “slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion” (v. 18). In the end, God spared the nation, punished the ten spies immediately, and decreed that the guilty generation would wander and die in the wilderness (vv. 32–38).

Apply the Word

Moses and Daniel give us excellent biblical examples of interceding for one’s nation (Daniel 9). Many values, practices, and lifestyles are widely accepted in America today that Scripture calls wrong. Knowing how displeased God must be, are we daily interceding and repenting for the past and present sins of our nation?

Pray with Us

The Moody Commencement ceremony in Chicago is being held today. Please include Moody’s president, Dr. Paul Nyquist, in your prayers as he presents students with their diplomas and prays for God’s blessing and guidance for their future ministry.

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