Moses Part 19

Moses, the man of God

A study

Part 19

The Journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea

Numbers 10 to 12

After being redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness and reached Mount Sinai in the third month. They were in Sinai for a whole year. Then they left Sinai and journeyed for about three months and reached Kadesh-barnea, which is just on the border of Canaan, their Promised Land. In this present study on Moses, we will look into their journey from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea.

APOSTASY AMONG GOD’S REDEEMED PEOPLE

Up to this, God and His acts have been before us, but now we are called to contemplate on man and his miserable ways. In Numb.11: 1 we find that the children of Israel complained and murmured. They had no genuine reason to complain. They had traveled only for three days, (Numb.10: 33) they could not be very weary; and especially as they were marching towards the land of Canaan, it might be thought they would be fond and eager of their journey. But unfortunately, they complained because they had the sinful pleasures of Egypt in their hearts, and were inclined to go back, instead of looking forward to the blessed Promised Land. (Acts.7: 39) Though Moses could not see what was going on in their hearts, God saw and was displeased with them, and God punished them. (1Cor.10: 5)

We also see here a “mixed multitude” lusting after the food of Egypt. The fish, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic were all taken from below the ground level as compared to the fruits of Canaan, which were fruits found above the ground level. (Numb.13: 23) Who is this “mixed multitude” and what are they lusting after? Only those (including this mixed multitude) who by faith applied the blood of the lamb were delivered from the bondage of Egypt. They all had passed from death into life as demonstrated by their passing through the Red Sea. On the contrary the Egyptians who did not appropriate the blood, perished while trying to pass through the Red Sea. But out of all those who were redeemed by the blood of the lamb from the bondage of Egypt, some were branded as the “mixed multitude.” While Canaan was the goal of their calling, their eyes were not fixed on this goal and they were not keen to attain unto it. They were displeased with the heavenly Manna, which pointed towards the Promised Land. But they lusted after the earthly food, which pointed towards Egypt. Though God granted their request and fed them with flesh, God’s wrath was kindled against them. And all those who despised the Promised Land and lusted after Egypt fell short of their goal and perished in the wilderness. (Numb.11: 33,34, Psa.78:29-31, 1Cor.10: 5-10)

Likewise, we all who are born-again, have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, from the bondage of sin and Satan. We have been called to inherit a heavenly kingdom. Our present life on earth is a wilderness journey. We must set our affection on those things, which are above. (Col.3: 1,2) We must focus our attention on unseen, eternal and heavenly blessings. (2Cor.4: 17,18) If we lust after the visible, temporal and earthly things, we will not be able to attain unto the goal of our calling. (2Pet.2: 20) By reading, trusting and obeying the Word of God, the heavenly Manna, we must understand and believe the truths concerning the coming Kingdom of the heavens. In this manner we will be enabled to overcome the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. (1John 2: 16) The Lord has promised, “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne (and reign with me). (Rev.3:21) Thus, to enter into His coming glorious kingdom and reign with Him, we should not only be born again, but we must also live an overcoming life.

In this short journey between Mount Sinai and Kadesh-barnea, we also get some amazing glimpses of the remarkable character of Moses the blessed servant of God.

MOSES – A MAN JUST LIKE US

Firstly in Numb.11: 10-15, we see how Moses is getting very much wearied and displeased by the pestering complaining of the people. And he is faltering and sinking beneath the tremendous weight of his responsibilities. No wonder, the burden was far too heavy for human shoulders. But the question is, was it too heavy for divine shoulders? It is most needful for all the servants of God to remember that whenever the Lord places a man in a position of responsibility, He will both fit him for it and maintain him in it. But here Moses, for a moment forgets the presence and the power of the Almighty God. He cries out, “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. If thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee” This surely is a dark moment in the history of this illustrious servant of God. It reminds us of the prophet Elijah, who also, while encountering a similar situation, entreated the Lord to take away his life. (1Kings 19: 4) Thus we can clearly understand that Moses, like Elijah, “was a man just like us.” (James 5: 17) But how wonderful it is to see those two men together in the mount of transfiguration! Blessed be the Lord who rebukes our fears by the riches of His grace. We too can, like these men, by our meekness before God, hearing and obeying His voice, overcome our weaknesses and fears and receive life, victory and glory.

MOSES – MEEKEST OF ALL MEN

God in His grace anointed seventy elders to assist Moses in his task. (Numb.11: 16-25) Here we get a clear picture of the truly excellent spirit in which Moses meets the new circumstances. (Numb.11: 26-30) Moses was far removed from that wretched spirit of envy, which would let no one speak but himself. Eldad and Medad did not come to the tabernacle with Moses, but received the anointing and prophesied in their own tent. But Joshua, who was very jealous for the honour of Moses, entreated Moses to restrain them. But Moses reacted in bright contrast to the narrowness and self-occupation which can only rejoice in the work in which “I, myself” have a prominent place. (Numb.11: 29) May our Lord deliver us from this kind of attitude, which lies hidden at the bottom of every heart. And let us be prepared, by grace, to rejoice in any and every manifestation of true spiritual power, no matter where or through whom. We should never try to condemn or silence anyone simply because they do not follow the Lord with us. (Mark 9: 38)

MOSES – PATIENT UNDER PERSECUTION

Here we find the indecent outburst of Miriam and Aaron against their own brother Moses. They complained (1) about the marriage of Moses with a Cushite woman and (2) about his government, the monopolizing of it. (Numb.12: 1,2) Whenever we look at servants of God, it is blessed and profitable to occupy with all the good we see in their life. If at all we see anything bad in their life we should never publicize or criticize but bring it to the Lord in earnest prayer.

Moses, as a deaf man heard not their complaint. When God’s honour was concerned, as in the case of the golden calf, no man more zealous than Moses, but when his own honour was touched, no man more meek. He was as bold as a lion in the cause of God, but as mild as a lamb in his own cause. Very often, the unkindness of our friends is a greater trial of our meekness than the malice of our enemies. But the more silent we are in our own cause, the more will God aggressively plead for us. The accused innocent needs to say little if he knows that the Judge Himself will be his advocate. God intervened and not only cleared him, but also praised him. God said that He revealed Himself to other prophets through dreams and visions but with Moses He had a very intimate communion. (Numb.12: 6-8) God very sternly rebuked Miriam and Aaron saying, “Were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” And God struck Miriam with leprosy. But Aaron was not punished with the same severity; probably God wanted to put a difference between those that mislead and those that are misled.

Immediately Aaron humbles himself, confesses his fault and his sister’s sin, and pleads to Moses for her, “let her not be as one dead.” Then Moses cried unto the Lord with a loud voice, “Heal her now O Lord, I beseech thee.” So Miriam was healed by the prayer of Moses whom she had abused. In all these happenings we see the wonderful patience and meekness of Moses, which was recognised and honoured by God.

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