Israel refuses to enter Canaan

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After the the twelve men returned from Canaan and said there were giants in the land, the people cried all night and complained to Moses and Aaron, “ We wish we had died in Egypt or somewhere out here in the desert (vv. 1-2)! Why does the Lord bring us to this land to fall by the sword (v. 3)? It would be better for us to return to Egypt? We’d be better off in Egypt.” Then they said,” Let’s choose our own leader and go back to Egypt” (v. 4). If the people had spent as much energy moving forward as they did moving back they could have enjoyed their land. Instead they never even entered  it. When a cry of despair goes up around you, consider the larger perspective before you join in.

Moses and Aaron bowed down before the Israelites (v. 5). They said, We have no reason to be afraid of the people who live there. The LORD is on our side, and they won’t stand a chance against us! Caleb and Joshua were greatly distressed by the people’s refusal to enter the land, and said it is a good land (vv. If we obey the LORD, he will surely give us that land rich with milk and honey (vv. 6-8). So don’t rebel (v. 9). However, the people rejected their advice and even talked of killing them.

But just then, the LORD appeared in a cloud at the sacred tent (v. 10). The path to open rebellion against God begins with dissatisfaction, then moves to grumbling about both God and present circumstances. Next, comes bitterness and resentment, followed finally by rebellion and hostility.


I need to be careful about being dissatified and complaining as these kind of attitudes will lead to rebellion and separation from God’s plan for my life.

Numbers 14:1-10 (English Standard Version)

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?" And they said to one another, "Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt." Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, "The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them." Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.

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