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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 14

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-45

  1. INTRO:
    1. Last week - The 10 spies walked by sight & not by faith; Caleb & Joshua walked by faith & not by sight. The Israeli spies saw giants, but Joshua & Caleb saw God!
      1. People were too strong & too tall; city walls too fortified & too high.”
      2. Unbelief blinds you to God’s greatness & magnifies your own weakness.
  2. WE WONT GO!
    1. ​​​​​​​LAMENTATION! (1-10)
    2. In Ex15(Red Sea) we see Israel singing in great victory but here they’re weeping in defeat!
      1. Had they forgotten their song? [See Ex. 15:14–18]
      2. There they had there eye on God & so faith sang; here they looked at giants & so unbelief wept.
    3. (3) Before Moses was blamed...now God!
    4. Yah, it’s our wives & children we’re concerned about!
    5. (4) At Horeb they said, “Let us make a calf here, “let us make a leader.
      1. ​​​​​​​The calf was made because it had brought them out of Egypt; The leader was to be made in order to lead them back into Egypt!
    6. (7-9) Joshua & Caleb said no, embrace the promised land(7); accept God’s leadership(8); obey God, & choose faith over fear(9).
    7. (9) Joshua & Caleb identified it was rebellion against the Lord & fear of the people.
    8. (10) God waited until the people expressed a desire to replace Moses and return to Egypt; then He began to act. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines in O.T.)
      1. But within 10 verse: The people wept, complained, looked back to Egypt, wanted a new leader, & even threatened to stone Caleb & Joshua.
      2. Such are the evidences of unbelief.
        1. Faith looks ahead with courage; unbelief looks back with complaint.
        2. Faith unites the people of God; unbelief looks for someone to blame.
    9. INTERCESSION! (11-21)
    10. (11) John Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat” if so, “let us kill one life now, and continue the work till the whole 9 are gone.” “Down with thee, thou traitor, my heart abhors thee.”
    11. (11,12) God was willing to destroy the entire nation and make a new nation through Moses’ family, but Moses rejected this offer.
      1. What humility, what love...but man it had to be tempting! :-)
      2. But I’m sure Moses realized also, that his descendants wouldn’t be any different from the nation he was now leading.
    12. A short time before, Moses was complaining because the people were such a burden, and now he was pleading on their behalf.
    13. (13-25) 3 arguments in Moses’ intercession:
      1. God’s Reputation; God’s Consistency; God’s Mercy.
    14. (18) How did the sins of the fathers effect the children? Their children, like Moses, had to wander bearing the consequences of other people’s sins.
    15. CONDEMNATION! (20-38)
    16. (20-25) The Lord forgives his people, although there will still be consequences.
      1. In His grace, God pardoned their sin; but In His government, He had to allow that sin to produce its bitter fruit.
    17. (22) Ten times? - One commentary lists out 10 different times they were tested.
      1. But possibly it was just the Hebrew way of saying a bunch. E.g. Job 19:3
    18. The Lord spares the people of Israel from complete destruction as a nation, but they will still be punished:
      1. No one 20 years old or older (with the exceptions of Caleb and Joshua) will enter the Promised Land.
    19. (26-35) They will wander in the wilderness for the next 40 years until all of them die and a new generation is born.
    20. (29) God gave them their request, announcing that they would die in the wilderness.
      1. Careful whatcha wish for!
    21. (30) Only Joshua & Caleb win a free trip to Israel!
    22. (31) Again God answers their prayer from vs.3 - You care about your kids...ok.
    23. (36-38) The 10 faithless scouts die immediately from a plague.
    24. (38) Faith leads to obedience and glorifies God; unbelief leads to rebellion and death.
      1. Why wander in unbelief when we can walk in victory!
    25. Did you ever think grumbling could have such drastic results?
    26. Why did God take their grumbling so personally? (grumbling stemmed from unbelief)
    27. PRESUMPTION! (39-45)
    28. How fickle is human nature! One day the nation was mourning because of their plight, and the next day they were recklessly trying to accomplish God’s work apart from God’s will and God’s blessing.
      1. They thought that because they had confessed their sin, God would change His mind and give them victory.
      2. The people had acted stubbornly like the mule, & now they acted impetuously like the horse. (Ps.32:8 Do not be like the horse or the mule)
    29. The whole venture was presumption on their part; they were livin by chance not by faith.
    30. How many Christians today realize their failings and then try to make up for them in fleshly activities that only lead to discouragement and defeat?
      1. All the Israelites could do was, accept God’s judgment & surrender to His will.
      2. Far better to wander in the wilderness in the will of God than to fight a losing battle out of the will of God.
    31. The carnal mind cannot serve God; it is timid when it should be bold, & bold when it should be timid.
      1. It advances when it should stand still; & it stands still when it should advance.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Numbers 14". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/numbers-14.html. 2017.
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