Sunday, 6 March 2011

Again - Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Just Get It!

Observations on Numbers 12-14

No matter how godly you may be, or to put it another way, because you are godly, people will take pot shots at you. Moses is no exception.  Even though he has been clearly raised up for the task of leading the people, even though God has done many mighty signs and wonders through him, even though his character track record is unimpeachable, he is challenged, and not by any old gangsta upstart Israelite, but by his very own brother and sister.

Sadly, its can be those who are closest to us who can perform the greatest treachery. In the Kingdom of God, humility is more important than capability. God uses a humble person, but the one who is proud in his capability is an stench in the nostrils of the Almighty.

Whilst Aaron clearly owns his part in this treachery, only Miriam becomes leprous. At a guess, it would be symbolically blasphemous for the high priest (Aaron) to become leprous, as he is a picture to the whole Israelite community of Christ, and Christ is never defiles himself in any way.

And / Or it could be a recognition that the treachery originated with Miriam. This may be sexist, but I can't quite imagine that Aaron would have gotten so worked up about his brother's wife had he not been incited in this case.

But like I say, both those last two paragraphs are my own conjectures on the subject.

Unfortunately the presumption of Aaron and Moses is a foretaste of things to come.

In the sending out of the spies, we see that Joshua was born Hoshea, but Moses had changed his name to Joshua - this name morphed over time to Yeshua and then to Jesus. In changing Joshua's name, Moses is showing the people that one who is like them, known as the LORD saves, will bring them into the glorious inheritance of the children of God.

When the spies come back and sow a bad report, the Israelite men, who have no appetite for the things of God, only the meat pots of Egypt, and who show great boldness when it comes to sinning in front of God's face and yet no courage whatsoever when it comes to the obedience of faith, all band together against Moses, threatening to stone him. It has to be one of the lowest points of the whole Bible. Imagine how ridiculous and outrageous it would have been had most of the nation rocked up back in Egypt led by some guy. The Egyptians probably would have seen it as some kind of sick joke, only then to realize that the Israelites had gone mad!

Only the intervention of the Glory of the LORD (Jesus himself) descending stops the mob from "lynching" Moses and Aaron!

Once again, Moses shows amazing humility - instead of saying "Yeah God, I'm fed up with them too, feel free to nuke 'em!" (Probably what I would have said in the pursuit of an easy life) he turns away the LORD's anger. Moses doesn't tell God to look into the puppy dog eyes of the people and get him to feel all sentimental, far from it, He appeals to his great name. (there's more to this than meets the eye). When we come to God for anything we must appeal to his gracious nature, never to our merit, because we don't have any. The only merit we can appeal to is the one he has given, namely the merit of Christ - and indeed that is in whose name we now can pray.

At the beginning of ch 14 the people requested that they die in the Wilderness. That request would now be granted as all those who were listed in the census of ch 1 would die in the desert over the next 40 years, and a new generation that had not known Egypt (as fully fledged adults) would grow up to take the promised land.

Jude and Paul soberingly point to all this as the example we should ponder and learn from, so that we don't set our hearts on the wrong things and become presumptuous like they did, but rather enter eternal life.

No comments: