Tag: Numbers 17-20
Scripture reading for February 16th: Numbers 17-20
Sin is a malady of the human race that permeates all men. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23) The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Our reading today records the deaths of brother Aaron and sister Miriam. Moses also is told that he, too, will not be allowed to enter the promised land, but must be gathered to his people.
The first to pass from the scene was Miriam, the older sister of Moses. (Numbers 20:1) Miriam was a prophetess who used her tambourine to prophesy and led the Israelite women in a victory celebration after the miracle of God’s deliverance at the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:20-21) Miriam got into trouble when she talked about Moses because of his Cushite wife. She was jealous of her younger brother and evidently wanted to have some of his authority. (Numbers 12:1-3, 9-12) She was struck with leprosy and was put out of the camp for a week, then healed as Moses prayed for her. Miriam was greatly used of God and gifted, but died without entering the promised land.
Aaron and Moses were faced with grumbling yet again because of a lack of water in the Desert of Zin. Moses and Aaron went before the Lord and again fell face-down. (Numbers 20:6-8) God spoke to them and told them to take the staff from the Lord’s presence and speak to the rock and it would gush water for them and their livestock. However, Moses and Aaron obeyed only partially. They did take the staff, but in anger Moses ridiculed his brothers and struck the rock twice with the staff. (Numbers 20: 9-10)
Moses and Aaron were rebuked by the Lord for dishonoring Him before the people. The penalty would be no entry into the promised land. Everyone wanted to be the leader and many tried to take Moses’ place over the years. Now at the end of the journey, Moses is disqualified because of anger and frustration that led to striking the rock twice instead of speaking to it!
In truth, God is merciful! He is teaching His people that the law, represented by Moses, cannot take anyone into the promised land! It is only grace through faith that can take us all the way! Joshua (Jesus) is the one who by faith would lead God’s people into the land to possess it.