Numbers 21

Numbers 21 has Moses leading the people on their journey toward the Promised Land.  They need to pass through some other people’s territory, the first being Canaan.  “The Canaanite, the king of Arad….heard that Israel was coming….he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive”.  We see in this chapter that Moses leads the people through three different territories and has to address an enemy which will not cooperate and allow them safe passage.  This nation captured some of God’s people.

“Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, ‘If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction’”.  They are in trouble again, and just like most of us when things get tough, they cried out to God.  Then an amazing thing happens.  “The Lord obeyed the voice of Israel”.  God not only heard their prayer and plea but immediately took action and gave over the Canaanites and their cities to destruction. It was short lived as very soon “the people spoke against God and against Moses….there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food”.  They had food, they just didn’t like it.

God truly doesn’t like complaining.  He quickly took action against the very same people He had just saved from destruction.  Their memory is so short.  “The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died”.  Predictably, they come running to Moses and say “We have sinned….Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us”.  And equally as predictable “Moses prayed for the people”.  He was a patient leader.  God tells him how to save his people so “Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live”.

They continue on their journey and come across two more enemy kings who decide they want to do battle rather than allow them safe passage.  Poor choice, and you’d think given the history with others they would have made a different one, but people tend to let ego get in the way of logic far too often.  God is with them and tells Moses “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land”.  If God is for us, who can be against us, at least successfully.  Moses defeats and destroys two more kingdoms as they continue their journey.  God’s hand continues to be upon Him and His leadership.  His biggest challenge is not the enemy from outside, but his own people and their attitudes.

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