Numbers 12-14

Numbers 12‑14  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 5
UM 12-14{Sophy. Did the Lord speak to the seventy elders as He spoke to Moses?
Mamma. No. An occasion soon carne, in which the Lord showed that the one that honored Him, He would honor; for Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because he had married an Ethiopian woman. They said, Has the Lord spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it, and He spoke suddenly to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, and said, Come to the tabernacle. And all three came out to the Lord, and He came down in the pillar of cloud, and called Aaron and Miriam to Him, and said: Hear now my words. If there be a prophet among you, I will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream; but my servant Moses is faithful in all my house, I will not speak to him by visions and dreams, but I will speak to him mouth to mouth, and he shall see me. Why, then, were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the Lord was very angry with them, and He went away in the cloud.
S. Were they frightened and sorry for what they had said?
M. They were silent in the presence of the Lord; but when the cloud was departed, Aaron looked at his sister, and she was covered with leprosy, as white as show
S. Oh, how dreadful! Had she to go away outside the camp?
M. Yes. Miriam was not subject to the Lord, whose ways of grace she could not understand; but He has said, Do my prophets no harm; and it is a solemn warning to us of how God hears a word of reproach or unkindness against any of His servants, and that He Will surely judge it. Now, Aaron turned to Moses, to intercede for his sister. Aaron ought to have been the one to check her evil thought, but he did not, so now he confessed it, and said, We have done foolishly; we have sinned: my lord, I beseech thee, lay not this sin upon us. Then Moses cried to the Lord, and said, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.
S. Was not Moses angry with Miriam for speaking in that wicked way?
M. No. Moses was the meekest man in all the earth. He did not utter one word of rebuke or complaint; he did not even tell the Lord what they said. But the Lord heard it and He took notice of it, and gave Moses a place of still greater honor; for He allowed Moses to intercede for the one who had injured him; and when Moses prayed for Miriam, the Lord healed her; but He said she should be shut out of the camp for seven days, and then she might be received in again. And the people did not go on their journey until Miriam was brought in again; then they moved from Hazeroth, and pitched their tents in the wilderness of Paran.
S. Were they very near Canaan then?
M. Yes; and the Lord said to Moses, Send men on before to search out the land of Canaan, that they may come back and bring you word about it. Take a man out of every tribe. So Moses chose twelve men. I will tell you the names of two of them. The man that was chosen of the tribe of Judah was Caleb, and the man of the tribe of Ephraim was Joshua, Moses' servant; and these twelve men were called spies.
S. That was what Joseph called his brethren.
M. Yes. Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and told them to bring back word about the land, and about the people that lived there; and he said, Bring some of the fruits of the land. For it was the time of the first ripe grapes.
S. How delighted they must have been!
M. They went up the mountain and searched the land, and carne to a city called Hebron, where four giants, the children of Anak, were.
Do you remember my telling you about Abraham buying piece of land for a possession, when he was a stranger in the land of Canaan?
S. Oh, yes; it was a burying place, where he buried Sarah, his wife.
M. You are quite right; this piece of ground was called Hebron, and it was the very same place that the spies carne to, and where they saw the giants. I shall have more to tell you about Hebron by-and-by.
S. Did they get some fruit?
M. Yes; there was a rich valley, full of the first ripe grapes, and they cut one branch, and it weighed so heavy that they put it upon a staff, and two men carried it between them!
S. What a magnificent bunch it must have been!
M. They called the place where they plucked it Eshcol, which means the valley of a cluster of grapes, They also brought pomegranates and figs, and after forty days they came back to Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel, and they showed them the fruit they had brought, and said, Surely it is a land flowing with milk and honey, and here is the fruit of it. But the people are very strong, and the cities have high walls, and we saw giants there. And when Caleb saw that the spies were frightening the people, he tried to quiet them, and said, Let us go up at once; we are quite able to overcome. But the other spies brought a bad report of the land, and said, we are not able, for the people are much stronger than we are; for we are like little grasshoppers before them.
S. I hope the children of Israel did not listen to those naughty men.
M. Indeed they did! When people do not trust God, He lets Satan blind their eyes, and even though they saw the delicious fruit and heard how there twelve men had gone all through the land, and had spent forty days there, they would not believe; but all the people lifted up their voices and cried, and they murmured against Moses and Aaron, and said, We wish that God had let us die in Egypt, or in the wilderness; and now all our wives and our children will be killed. And they said, Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.
S. Oh, how dreadfully wicked! Was Moses greatly grieved?
M. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before them, and Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes; they were the two good spies, who wished to go into the land at once. And they were dreadfully grieved, and shocked at the words of the people, and they said, The land which we passed through is exceeding good. If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into it. Only do not rebel against the Lord, and you need not be afraid of the giants, for their strength is all gone, because the Lord is with us, and He is not with them. But the people would not listen, and wanted to kill them with stones. Then the glory of the Lord appeared
S. Was the Lord very angry with the people?
M. He said to Moses, How long will this people provoke me? How long will it be before they believe I will destroy them, and make of you a greater nation than they are.
But Moses had not a thought for himself. His first thought was:—The Egyptians will hear it, and What will they say about this great Jehovah, who has done such wonderful things for His people? And Moses told his sorrow to the Lord, and said, They will tell the people of the land: for they have heard that thou, Lord, art among this people, and that thy cloud stands over them day and night. And now; if thou wilt kill all this people, they will say, The Lord was not able to bring them up. So now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great; for thou hast said, The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, and will by no means clear the guilty. And pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, as thou hast forgiven them from Egypt even until now.
S. What a wonderful prayer!
M. Wonderful, indeed, to hear Moses thus taking God at His word, telling Him that, according to the character God had given of Himself, He must act in mercy and longsuffering. It is very beautiful to see how Moses always comforts himself by what is in God. Moses knew God, and he loved and trusted Him with his whole heart. And the Lord answered him, I have pardoned according to thy word. I will show mercy, but I will by no means clear the guilty: for those men who have seen my glory and my miracles, and have tempted me these ten times, and have not obeyed my voice, they shall not see the land. Every one that was numbered from twenty years old shall die in the wilderness. But my servant Caleb shall live, and he shall go in and possess the good land, because he has followed me fully. And now, to-morrow, turn back into the wilderness, by the way of the Red Sea.
S. Was God going to send them back to Egypt?
M. No; but He called Moses and Aaron, and said that what the people in their unbelief had said, should come true of them for every one that murmured against Him should die in the wilderness, and their little children, that they said would be killed if they went up, God would bring into the land; but they should wander about the wilderness for forty years, until all the grown-up people were dead, except Caleb and Joshua. But the ten wicked spies the Lord killed that day by a plague.
S. Did Caleb and Joshua suffer for the other people.
M. Yes; and the little children too, had to suffer for the sins of their parents, and had to wait for forty years. And when Moses told these things to the children of Israel, they mourned greatly; and they got up early in the morning, and said, We will go up for we have sinned. But they were not really humbled before the Lord, or sorry for dishonoring Him. And Moses said: No; you must not go up now, for the Lord is not with you; you will be destroyed before your enemies: it is quite true that they are stronger and greater than you are.
S. But they were not stronger when God was with them?
M. No. The wretched unbelieving people left God out both times; when they talked of their strength, as much as when they talked of their weakness; and they did go up, and presumed to fight in their own strength, and the Canaanites came down upon them and destroyed them; for the Lord was not with them, and the ark and Moses remained still in the camp,