Numbers 12 – 14


Numbers 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.  2 So they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?" And the LORD heard it.


We start out chapter 12 with Miriam and Aaron speaking against Moses because of his wife. Now there are differing opinions on who this wife of Moses is. Some believe that this is referring to Moses 1st wife Zipporah and that Miriam and Aaron are just calling her an Ethiopian to be mean. Others believe that Moses first wife died and then he took this second wife who probably one of the many strangers that came along with the children of Israel on their journey. In either case Aaron and Miriam were not happy with Moses decision. Now God had spoke through both of them and they were in a sense trying to put themselves equal with Moses however God hears these things that they are saying.


Numbers 12: 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)  4 Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!" So the three came out.  5 Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.  6 Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.  7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.  8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?"  9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.


One thing Moses is noted for is being humble. Being humble is a characteristic that God wants all his people to have. You Moses wasn’t trying to proclaim that he was better than any one else and because the God dealt with Moses in a special way face to face as you would speak to a friend. Not God wants Miriam and Aaron to know that Moses is different and he points that out by telling them how he speaks to the prophets through vision or dreams but he speaks to Moses directly and how Moses has even seen God form with his own eyes. God wants to know why they were not afraid to speak against Moses. Here we see God intervening for Moses.


Numbers 12:10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.


God takes vengeance upon Miriam for the sin they were involved in. You notice that Miriam was mentioned first which indicates that she started this talking bad about Moses and Aaron joined in. So Miriam came down instantly made leprous. When thought about what happened here it reminded me of what Paul wrote in, 


Romans 12: 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.  20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Isn’t this what Moses did? He didn’t try to retaliate against his brother and sister but God sure did. That a good lesson for us to learn today because the world teaches you that revenge is sweet but, the Word of God tells us that we should not take revenge instead we should show our enemy kindness and love and let God take care vengeances because it belongs to him.


Numbers 12: 11 So Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.  12 "Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother's womb!" 


Here we see Aaron pleading for his sister that she not have to bear this sin and remain a leper. He even admits that what they were doing was wrong. Basically he was asking for forgiveness and Moses was ready to give it.


Numbers 12:13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "Please heal her, O God, I pray!"


Moses doesn’t hesitate or doubt the sincerity of his brother and he immediately prays to God for her to be healed. But notice God response.


Numbers 12: 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again."  15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.  16 And afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran. 


God hears Moses prayer and he is going to heal Miriam but first she must face the consequences of her sin. She has to spend 7 days outside the camp with the rest of lepers so that she will have time to reflect upon the sin she has committed. I can  see how this relates to us today. You see we can sin today and when we sin if we ask for forgiven we can be forgiven but we still have to live with consequences that the sin created. For instance if we started doing drugs or drinking alcohol we do great damage to our bodies that cannot be reversed and yes we can be forgiven for the damage we do but the damage will be there for the rest of our lives. Miriam actually got of pretty easy since all she had to do was suffer for 7 days. Another thing I found interesting about these scriptures was when God said that if a father spits in his daughters face that she would  be shamed for 7 days. This particular rule as far a could tell in not found anywhere else but apparently it was a method in which the father could shame his daughter for 7 days.

Numbers 13:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  2 "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."  3 So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel


Moses get one man from each tribe to go spy the land out. Now these men that were chosen are named in verse 4-16


Numbers 13:17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains,  18 "and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many;  19 "whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds;  20 "whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.


Moses sends them out to find out how strong their enemies are and what the lay of land is like. He even wants them  to bring back some the fruits of the land and this also gives us a  general idea of what time of year this  happened because the season of the first ripe grapes started around late July or early August.


Numbers 13:21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob (Reck – obe), near the entrance of Hamath (Ham – awth).  22 And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman (ake – man), Sheshai (shay –shaw-e), and Talmai (tal – ma- e), the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)  23 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.  24 The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there.


Here learn all the places that they went and how they cut this clusters of grapes that they  carried on a pole between 2 men. Now  you might wonder why would  it take 2 men to carry a cluster of grapes. Well, from what I could find the clusters of grape in that area could weigh anywhere from 10 pounds to 50 pounds and also it suggested that the carried the grapes that way to preserve them better. 


Numbers 13:25And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.  26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.


These men  were gone for 40 days spying out the land and they bring there report as we continue to read in


Numbers 13:27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.  28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.  29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."  30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."  31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."  32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.  33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."


Well guess what the spies find out exactly what God has said along that the promise land is flowing with milk and honey. But the chosen spies did have the faith in God that they  should had and because of their lack of faith they begin to talk about how strong the people were and how there is no way they could defeat them. Most of know that only 2 of the spies had the right kind of faith in God with Caleb being one of them. He tells the people lets go right now and take their possessions because we can do it. Caleb understood that it didn’t matter how big the enemies were with God on their side they could take them all down. But, these other spies convince the children of Israel that they were like grasshoppers compared to their enemies. Look at


Numbers 14:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.  2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!  3 "Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"  4 So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."  5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.


These 10 men caused all these problems because  of their lack of faith and their news spread like cancer infecting all the children of Israel. They do what their famous for and begin to moan and groan and talk about selecting another leader so they can go back to Egypt. Caleb and Joshua make one last attempt to convince the children of Israel to put their faith and trust in God.


Numbers 14: 6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;  7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.  8 "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'  9 "Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them."  10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.


These guys tried  their best to get the children of Israel to listen to reason  and to put their faith in God but they were so messed up in the heads and convinced they were doomed that they wanted to silence Caleb and Joshua forever by stoning them to death. But God appears to them and keeps this from happening. What we have looked  at so far serves a good example for us today.  We need to understand that if God is on our side everything will work out just as suppose to. Paul says,


Romans 8:31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


We need to realize this as Christians that God is on our side and that we should not fear other men nor should we allow ourselves  to follow after the majority.


Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


There a lot of changes going on the Lords church here in the United States and they are not good changes because people are starting to go beyond what is authorized in the word of God and are starting a trend to appease the masses and friends that is simply wrong. You see what they are doing is fearing man more than God. Good Christians are allowing false doctrines creep into their congregations because they afraid to take a stand and before long the majority rules even though the majority is very wrong. We need to make sure as Christians  that  we don’t allow ourselves to do this and become like the children of Israel. No, instead we need have the kind of faith the Joshua and Caleb had and stand firm in Gods Word and don’t fear the majority.


Numbers 14:11 Then the LORD said to Moses: "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?  12 "I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."


It is from verses like this that shows without a  doubt that God isn’t playing games. He is a God who demands an obedient faith and if you are not being faithful to him he certainly is not going spare you from his wrath. He is a just God and justice will be served. Here in our text he is ready to wipe out the children of Israel and start all over again but notice Moses reponse.


Numbers 14: 13 And Moses said to the LORD: "Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them,  14 "and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.  15 "Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying,  16 'Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.'  17 "And now, I pray, let the power of my LORD be great, just as You have spoken, saying,  18 'The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.'  19 "Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."


Once again Moses saves the day by asking God to forgive them. We should learn from this to never under estimate the power of prayer and forgiveness because truly God is longsuffering and abundant in his mercy and no matter where we have been or what we have done if we are sincere in our repentance and was ask God for forgiveness we can rest assured that  he will forgives us. Now God forgave the children of Israel but they still had to pay the consequence for their unfaithfulness.


Numbers 14:20 Then the LORD said: "I have pardoned, according to your word;  21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD --  22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,  23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.  24 "But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.


All of the children of Israel who were 20 years old and older would not enter into the promise land because of their unfaithfulness and the same holds true for the Christian today. We will not enter into the promise land of heaven if we continue to be disobedient  and are not faithful to the Lord. In verses 26-38 God give specific information on how none of those over 20 would enter the promise land except Joshua and Caleb and God punished those 10 spies with a plague that killed them for leading the people astray. I am reminded of what Jesus said in


Mark 9:42  " But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.


With this in mind we need to make sure that we are trying our best not to lead people in the wrong direction or to cause someone to stumble. We must do our best to be shining examples for Christ.


Numbers 14: 39 Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly.  40 And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, "Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!"  41 And Moses said, "Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed.  42 "Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.  43 "For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you."  44 But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop; nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp.  45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.


When Moses tells them the news that they will have to wonder in the wilderness for 40 years they weep and they weep. But, when morning came they go upon the mountain and decide they are going to go ahead and enter the promise land thinking surely God will go ahead and give to if he sees that we now have the courage to go into the land. Moses tries to warn then not to go, but as usually they did not listen. Their enemy easily defeated them and ran them off because God was not helping them and besides this he had made his judgment that they would wander for 40 years in the wilderness. I can just imagine how down the children of Israel must of felt. Here they were so close to the promise land yet they cannot enter and to know that you are never going to enter that land had to make you really feel low. One thing we definitely learn from this while we can be forgiven of our sins we still have to pay the consequences.