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Wednesday: Kadesh Barnea — 19 Comments

  1. If they had had Facebook in Kadesh Barnea it would not have taken long for the Grasshopper/Giant meme to become a trending item. I have seen it happen so many times on Facebook where an issue becomes a hot item and negative responses become popular. It is crowd behaviour at its worst.

    I have told the story about our chooks (chickens for Americans) before. We had a couple of hundred chooks and whenever a chook got sick the other chooks would crowd around it and attack it. That is why when I see crowd behaviour on social media, I call it the "Sick Chook Syndrome".

    Kadesh Barnea was Israel's "Sick Chook" moment. Going up and possessing the promised land was a bad idea. Somebody had mentioned "Giants", and the race was on to condemn the idea.

    If there was one lesson to be learned from this, it is to take time to think things through before making big decisions.

    This situation reminds me of another notion that is worth a mention. The reaction of the people was an indicator that they nation was not really mature enough to go and take possession of the land. They needed to grow up a lot more before they were ready to function as a nation.

    I came to Australia at the age of 17 to start my tertiary education. If I had been mature enough, I would have passed my GCE for London University and started my degree almost immediately. Instead, I thought I was pretty smart and mucked around and failed miserably (twice). My 40 years in the wilderness turned out to be 40 weeks working in a concrete pipe factory. It was the best educational experience I could have had at the time. I came back to Australia, never failed another examination and graduated with honours 3 years later.

    Israel needed to grow up. their reaction at Kadesh Barnea showed that. Did someone say we have a bit of growing up to do in our own spiritual understanding before we are ready for the Kingdom of God?

    • Dear Maurice - I appreciate and agree with your depiction of the "Sick Chook" syndrome to be caused by Israel's apparent need "to grow up" in their faith and learning to trust the God who had just brought them out of Egypt.

      You close your comments by stating: "Did someone say we have a bit of growing up to do in our own spiritual understanding before we are ready for the Kingdom of God?" Do you share this understanding?
      If so, would you please explain how we, the faithful having accepted the 'Faith of Christ' to govern our new life by faith, would go about this 'growing up before we are ready' for the Kingdom of God?

      My own understanding is that, by having believed and accepted to live by faith the Truth of the Faith of Christ, we have entered into the kingdom of God to live as its citizens here on earth - Luke 17:20-21 [entos- "within" or "in your midst"]; John18:36-37 [witness unto the truth, everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice] ; Matt.6:33 [His righteousness]. In additon are all the parables to explain the kingdom of God. My conclusion is that we learn as we live, applying Christ's Faith.

      • Hi Brigitte, Yes I could have stated my question in the modern paradigm of salvation. But, I was using the example of the Israelites who where not ready to enter the promised land. We should consider it in the sense of maturity, not whether we are saved or not. We have much to learn, not in order to be saved, but to grow and develop our potential in Jesus.

        When I was a failing faltering science student, my parents were paying my bills for me. I was costing them a lot of money - I estimate now that it was about 1/4 of their yearly income. They did that for two years while I was failing my examinations. I had their support even though I was imperfect. Good gracious supporting parents are a wonderful model of the love of God.

        • Thank you for your reply, Maurice. You are very careful not to use “I” as the suggesting party of the hypothetical question, and rather let the ‘anonymous’ ‘someone’ ask.
          May I ask again - what do you think we need to do to “mature” which would compare with the Israelites maturing before entering their promised land?
          I believe that we who believe the Savior’s Gospel and follow His teaching have entered the ‘promised land’ at the moment when we confessed our faith, living from then on in the spiritual kingdom of God here on earth and are judged according to our faith.

      • Hi Brigitte,

        I believe you answered your own question when you said you have, "believed and accepted to live by faith the Truth of the Faith of Christ." But we know simple faith is not enough, we must also Love the Lord with all our might.

        • Yes, Gerald, I agree - I believe wholeheartedly that the Love of God and our Savior Christ Jesus is needed to motivate that which we do by faith. To be motivated by love grows stronger and stronger each time we apply our faith toward loving others as we have been loved by our heavenly Father.

    • 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV
      There hath no temptation taken(overtaken) you but such as is common to man:but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear(endure) it.

  2. What Present Truth have I discovered in today's lesson?

    In the episode of being sent into the wilderness for 40 years we learn that the LORD interacted with them on a daily basis and dwelt with them.
    Now through the Holy Spirit He interacts daily with those who love Him, guiding and protecting them from the wiles of the devil.

    According to Paul the LORD's Truth has now been more clearly revealed then in the days of Moses and that God's people are demonstrating more of the LORD's character even to the other worlds in the Universe.
    What an awesome responsibility and privilege.

    Eph 3:3-5 MKJV  that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in few words,  (4)  by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)  (5)  which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,
    Eph 3:9-11 MKJV  and to bring to light what is the fellowship of the mystery which from eternity has been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ;  (10)  so that now to the rulers and powers in the heavenlies might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God,  (11)  according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord;

  3. What is going on in Numbers 14:10-20? If we take it at superficial face value, we have a situation where God is about to break out against Israel and would have done so except that Moses fortunately managed to 'talk God down' from destroying the Israelites. If this is true, what would have happened if Moses hadn't showed up?

    Or is there something else entirely going on? Earlier in his life, Moses had resorted to use of violence to try and advance the causes of God's Kingdom (Exodus 2:11-15). Now God offers to respond in exactly the same way. And Moses demonstrates that, under the same situational dynamics, he now is instead ruled by self-sacrificing compassionate Agape love where he would now sooner lay down his life than take the life of another (or have the life of another taken). A dramatic transformation has taken place for all created intelligences to see as 'evidence that speaks for itself'. That Moses reflects God's precise nature and character self-declaration/revelation (Exodus 34:6,7) back to God shows that Moses now personally identifies with this character because it is now also his character. Thus, I would propose that this account was not about God actually 'losing it' and Moses needing to calm God down. Rather, it was about displaying that God's redemption and restoration plan actually does change hearts and spirits back into harmony with "the law of life for heaven and earth" - with Moses being (yet another) case in point for all to see.

    What do you think?

    • Indeed! When God offered Moses the chance to be the progenitor of a great nation, inheriting the promise made to Abraham, God already knew how Moses would respond. And his response indicates that the confident, headstrong prince of Egypt had, indeed, been changed into a meek and faithful servant of Jehovah, willing to give up his own life for his people, as the Messiah would eventually do.

    • Thank you Phil for your clarification. I believe your comment “…for all created intelligences to see…” is exactly right. As humans we “see” with such limited vision. As we learn more & more of God our eyes see more & understand better the message that God is giving to those who seek him with all their heart.

  4. When interceding before the Lord on behalf of Israel, I believe that WHY Moses reasoned as he did is more important than the reasoning itself. This is the “song of Moses”(Rev 15:3) which the redeemed will sing before the throne of God, and we must "sing" it in this life if we would sing before God's throne. If we prayerfully meditate on the prophetic words of that song, and compare them to Moses' demonstration, we should comprehend what it means, and understand(Dan 12:10) the goodness of God as Moses did.

    Daniel said: “[God] gives wisdom to the wise”(Dan 2:21). Jesus taught that all who hear His sayings and DO them are “like a wise man who built...on a Rock”(Matt 7:24). So together, we understand that God gives the “wisdom from above”(James 3:17) to the obedient, which is the fruit of faith. So the manifold wisdom of God is seen in His obedient children who trust and obey Him, and their good works glorify Him(Matt 5:26).

  5. SS Lesson Why was Moses prevented from entering the promised land?
    Was it because He struck the rock twice instead of speaking to the rock? (Numbers 20:12)
    Or because God was upset with him on account of the people's rebellion against the 2 spies' report? (Deut. 1:37

    • Numbers 12:20 gives the reason quite clearly, "Because you did not believe in me, uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel."

      Moses had been faithful to uphold the Lord as holy and had clearly demonstrated self-forgetful love when he was willing to die for his people. But all this beautiful record was spoiled when he stood before the Rock and said,"... must we fetch you water out of this rock?" Notice who is credited with the ability to "fetch water out of this rock." Exasperated and irritated with the people, Moses took to himself the honor that belonged to God.

      The Lord had said in Numbers 20:8: "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water ..." In striking the rock and taking the credit for the miracle, the man who had been the "meekest man on earth" demonstrated weakness and a spirit similar to the murmurers with whom he was exasperated. His high position of honor and leadership made his sin all the greater. Moses was a representative of Christ, but in this instance he failed to represent his Master whose character is self-forgetful love. Because of this sin, both Moses and Aaron were not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

      The rock was also a symbol of Christ (see Isa 53:4,5). As the rock had been struck once, so Christ was to be "once offered to bear the sins of many." (Heb 9:28) Christ was not to be offered a second time, so by striking the rock again, instead of speaking to it, Moses had spoiled a beautiful symbol.

      The Lord's response to this one instance of Moses taking credit to himself should be a sober reminder to us regarding how offensive a self-centered focus is to God.

  6. I think that just like the people of Israel, our 'promised land' is right before us! Are we glad? Are we tired? Are we complaining? Are we hopeful? How are we, as 'the people of the promise'? The obstacles ahead of us may seem too high, but Jesus said "I will be with you"! Are we preparing to enter the promised land? Are we getting ourselves free from all material bonds that tie us down to this earthly and finite home? How much are you and I willing to give up in the name of Christ to be ready?

  7. The Wisdom of God, reflected in everything He undertakes, starting with designing the Universe and its related functions to maintain it, including the special creation of man, is to be made known/exemplified by those living on earth with the ability to perceive Him.
    As we are told, this is not only for our benefit, it is also for the benefit of those 'principalities and powers in the heavenly places' - Eph.3:10.

    I found this truth reflected throughout last and this week's studies. The lesson writer's last paragraph goes straight to the most salient point of God's work as it relates to mankind - 'that the Glory and Goodness and Love and Power of God are to be revealed in His 'Church', through what He does through His people.'

    God's Wisdom can only receive its proof by/through experience when/as applied. Faith is the means/requirement by which man can 'proof' the Wisdom of God to himself and the Universe.
    So, my response to "what role, if any, do we have as individuals in bringing this about"?, is: - to remain faithful in loving our heavenly Father with all our heart and soul, and our neighbor as He has enabled us to love others.


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