The Arabah is the same place that Jesus went to be tempted by the Devil. Moses recounts the history of Israel, which reveals their rebellious heart. It was from here that Joshua (Hebrew for Jesus) went forth to lead the people into the Promised Land. Jesus, like His namesake, goes forth from this same place to begin His ministry.
Moses doesn’t mince words.
In this passage he gets stuck into Israel’s recent history which we have been reading through these past few months.
Moses is clear about his own feelings on their actions and motivations.
“How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife?” 1:12
“The thing seemed good to me, and I took twelve men from you, one man from each tribe.” 1:23
This is a really interesting piece of information. The idea to send twelve spies into the land seems to have come from the people. Initially Moses had commanded all the people to go up and take the land.
Israel however chose to seek out the confirmation of man rather than trust in God. They react badly to the spies reports, but probably their hearts were straying before the spies came back, looking for a way out.
“Even with me the LORD was angry on your account and said, ‘You also shall not go in there.'” 1:37
Moses lays it out. ON YOUR ACCOUNT.
Rather than shifting the blame from himself Moses is wanting the people to understand the gravity and seriousness with which they should approach the God that they are accountable too. Their disobedience and stubborn hearts angered Moses, who then sinned in striking the rock in his anger.
Sometimes for us it is easy to focus only on the individual at the end of the chain of disobedience.
But we are not excused from our behaviour and disobedience just because we might be able to cover it with someone else’s sin. Our thoughtless and harsh words are not forgotten because of the volatile response they get.
Jesus puts it very clearly in John 14:15,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Let us be encouraged to walk obedience and to continue in heartfelt repentance each day we walk this road.
* Father God,
Please Lord, we are sinners, saved only by Your grace, through the gift of faith that You give.
We love You Lord God, please help us to do what You tell us to.
Please write Your word upon our hearts that we might not sin against You.
Please plant Your word deep down within us and grow it, that we might be good soil and bear much fruit.
Please open the eyes and ears of our hearts today, show us what You would have us know and do from Your word.