Rebelling Has Its Consequences

The Book of Numbers is filled with lessons for any type of Believer:

Does this remind you of anyone?

Here’s an interesting animated short on youtube, recounting the Book of Numbers (for those of you who don’t like to read.)

It’s made clear that God wants to hear his people worship and praise him while he provides them with freedom and protection and guides them to the Promised Land.  Instead, the Israelites take to complaining bitterly to the Lord about their conditions in the desert.  God covers them in an endless supply of  manna and instead of giving thanks they recount,

“We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic.  Now our gullets are shriveled.  There is nothing at all! Nothing but this manna to look to!”
Numbers 11:5

God in a wrath, scatters enough quail on the camp to provide, for a month, the camp of 600,000 men.  As the people gathered and ate the quail the Lord blazed his anger at them and struck them with a very severe plague (a mysterious crave-giving plague.)
Lesson: Don’t lose faith.

Lesson 2:
Soon after, in the land of Hazeroth,  Miriam and Aaron speak out against Moses, scorning him for marrying a Cushite woman. In reality they were questioning, ‘would God really choose to speak through a man like Moses?’  When God hears this he calls to Miriam and Aaron,

“With him (Moses) I speak mouth to mouth, plainly and not in riddles, and he beholds the likeness of the Lord.”
Numbers 12:8

God then covers Miriam’s body with leprosy.  When Moses cries out to the Lord, “O God, pray heal her!” he heals her, but only after she’s shut out of camp for seven days.
Lesson: Don’t lose faith.

Lesson #3
As they approach the Promised Land, God calls upon Moses to choose 12 men, each as a representative of their ancestral tribes, to spy of the land of Canaan.  So Moses sends them out to scout the land and tells them to return with word on the people, the soil and the country.  After 40 days the 12 men return and 10 of them made their report to the whole community:

“We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.  However, the people who inhabit the country are powerful… We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we.”
Numbers 13:27~31
“It will be better for us to go to to Egypt.”
Numbers 14:3

God, again, is disappointed in the lack of faith by the Israelites in his abilities. Since the people wanted to return to Egypt, he let them travel South.
The Israelite people wandered for 40 years.
Lesson: Don’t lose faith.

Lesson #4
In Numbers 20, Moses breaks under the pressure of being the leader of the Israelites.  As they complain again, he and his brother ‘fall on their faces’ instead of defending the Lord.

As a result, Moses will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Harsh? It seems so, but as a leader representing God, Moses has a huge responsibility to teach what it means to have faith.  Leadership is not to be entered into lightly.
Lesson: Don’t lose faith.

What I can gather from just these few stories, is that having FAITH in Christ should be a priority for all who believe in Him.  That He will guide you through any obstacle as long as you have faith in Him.

Why is it that people are so easy to lose faith, even when something so large is at stake?  It is a characteristic that is still found abundantly in so many of us today.  Why is it easier to lose trust in someone than it is to learn to trust in them?
On the other hand, How is it that God, the man who forgives us of all our sins, is so quick to punish people? Why does he do so so strictly?


About S.Donoho

is a senior at the University of Kentucky, majoring in Economics and minoring in Business. She's considering the possibility of going to Korea (where she was born) in the near future to teach English.
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3 Responses to Rebelling Has Its Consequences

  1. I like the way that you have developed a fourfold outline of the narrative in Numbers, but I’m confused as to why you are dragging “Christ” into this narrative. Christ has no role in the Old Testament. In fact, this text supported a covenant and epistemology that existed long before the person Jesus ever existed (if that is what you mean by “Christ.”

    Go back and read the first couple posts on this class blog and recall that the goal of our interpretations isn’t to derive moral lessons for how we should live our lives in orientation to some personal faith. Instead, how can we read the story in Numbers apart from the specter of Christianity?

    • S.Donoho says:

      Being someone with no background in reading the Bible, I accidentally ‘dragged’ the term Christ into my writing when, what I meant, was God (my mistake.) I was simply writing what was going through my mind as I was reading the book of Numbers. It made me reconsider my life personally, not only in a religious sense but also when it comes to people in general and my faith in them.

  2. zacharyruffing says:

    This is a great idea. You have thought of many examples and shown how they are invovled within the narrative. I think lesson one however is a bit off. The story of the quail I see as a “be satisfied with what the lord has given you and don’t be greedy.” God had been providing them with healthy, and adequette food as they wandered in the wilderness but they wanted meat, a luxurious food in antiquity. If God felt they needed meat, they would have had it.

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