Suffering in the Desert

Today's Bible reading: Number 14:13-19

As we take a closer look at Israel's wandering in the wilderness, it continually raises the question: “How can a holy God remain present among an unholy people?”  The pattern of Israel's wanderings in the desert follow a basic pattern: the people sin, and murmur against God … God is angry, and punishes His people … Moses then intercedes on behalf of the people … and finally God restores His people after their sin is atoned for.

As He did at Sinai, Moses pleads for his sinful fellow Israelites, and his prayer is heard.  God's promises remain in force … but who can blame God for deciding that none of this present generation - not even Moses - will ever set foot in Canaan?  So we find Israel back in the wilderness.  And we find the familiar themes being played over again: Israel's rebellion … divine punishment – and yet divine mercy.  All three are illustrated very clearly, for example, in the episode of the bronze serpent.  Much later, another figure was to be raised on a stake, so that, by looking to Him in faith, all might be rescued from something far worse than snakebite.

Prayer: Please pardon us, O Lord, according to the greatness of Your steadfast love, by which You delivered Israel.  Amen