Saturday, February 22, 2014

Numbers 26-27 When a leader sins

From Numbers 26-27

Q. Moses did not do as the LORD asked. What are the consequences of his sin?

Nu 26.1-51 Story; Second Census of Israel, previous generation died out
Nu 26.52-65 Story; Division of the land, numbering the levites, none of past generation entered with exceptions
Nu 27.1-11 Law; Amendment to inheritance laws concerning a lack of immediate male descendant
Nu 27.12-23 Story; Moses sees the promised land, Joshua is commissioned a next leader
Passage and Comments
What stands out to me in this passage is the way the consequences of Moses' sin plays itself out.
[12] The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. [13] When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, [14] because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) (Nu 27:12-14)
God shows him the promised land and then says he won't be able to enter. We won't see Moses again till the transfiguration of Jesus in the gospel. None the less what was recorded of Moses' sin and punishment makes an important point for the Israelites then and later readers. Moses may have been commissioned by God to judge and lead Israel. But ultimately it is the LORD who is the boss and the LORD who leads Israel. The punishment of Moses puts him in his place under The LORD's rule and the manner it is delivered demonstrates this to the people. The LORD is holy, Moses should have shown this through his obedience, he didn't. So now see even Moses your leader must pay the consequences for not honouring the LORD as holy.
Moses punishment isn't solely about God displaying his wrath. Its a demonstration for the people and exhortation that unbuttoning they do they should regard the LORD as holy.
Story of Israel
You might remember my earlier post quoting Ezekiel 36 and the ways in which the LORD upholds his holy name. The same principles apply here. The LORD demonstrates his holiness by preventing Moses at this point to enter the promised land.

Story of Jesus
Its hard for us to perceive events in our world as forms of the LORD's punishment on ourselves or others. We are generally wise to withhold that kind of judgement. None the less I think Moses example can still apply to us today. I have no doubt Moses repented of his lack of trust that led to this.For us today we need to evaluate ourselves, and perform a self check. Are we honouring Jesus as holy, are there things we need to deal with, how can we encourage others to do the same as well.