Numbers 13 – 14, 17 & 21
This week we conclude the story of Moses
From Mount Sinai the Israelites moved towards Canaan. When they reached the boarder they chose twelve men to go into Canaan and find out what the land was like. After forty days the men returned with all kinds of fruit. They told the Israelites who had been eagerly awaiting their return that although the land was fertile their cities were protected by great fortresses.
The people were so disappointed that they begged to return to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb two of the men who had been into Canaan urged the people to trust in God, but no one wanted to listen to them. God was so angry that the Israelites would not trust him after all he had done for them.
He had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and he had fed them with manna and quails and provided them with water in the desert. So he punished them by making them wander in the desert for forty years.
The Israelites would not obey Moses and they decided to attack the Canaanites but they were heavily defeated. They blamed Moses for their defeat and they challenged Moses and asked him who had given him and Aaron the right to lead them.
Moses suggested a way to solve the problem. He told each of the twelve tribes to choose a leader and to carve leaders name on an almond branch and leave the branch in God’s tent. God will choose one of the men.
When they looked at the branches the next morning, only Aarons branch had burst into flower. God had chosen Aaron. The Israelites were not satisfied for long they soon began to complain again.
This time God decided to punish them and he sent poisonous snakes into their camp.
Many people were bitten. The Israelites begged Moses to ask God to send the snakes away. They asked Moses to tell God that they were sorry for being so ungrateful and speaking against God.
Moses prayed to God. God answered Moses by telling him to make a snake out of bronze and to put it on a stick so every one could see it. So every one who believed in God, only had to look at the bronze snake to be made well again.
After forty long years leading his people around the desert Moses died. God chose Joshua as the new leader. The time had come for the Israelites to enter the promised land.
By Revd Peta May