On verses 36-39: In Numbers 14:36-38 God sends a plague to strike down the men who had spread a bad report about the Promised Land to the rest of the community and caused the rest of the community to grumble against Moses. What’s the lesson here? Gossip and dissension are like a disease that spreads and kills those who are involved in spreading it. Don’t get caught spreading gossip and dissension! It will kill you – your reputation, your heart for God and your ability to enter into God’s blessings. But if you choose not to be involved in gossip and dissension, if you take a stand against gossip and dissension, like Caleb and Joshua, not only will you survive, but God will bless you and help you enter His Promised Land for you.
On verses 40-45: Earlier the Israelites disobeyed God by complaining that it was too hard to get to the Promised Land and that they were better off staying in Egypt. In other words, they refused to follow their leaders and trust that God had the best plan for them. Now in verses 40 to 45, after seeing that God and their leaders were right about the Promised Land after all (v40), the Israelites disobey God and their leaders again, this time by going ahead of God and their leaders and trying to conquer the Promised Land on their own. Even though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant had told them to go (v44), even though Moses emphatically warned them against going (v42), the Israelites went ahead anyways and got their tails handed to them (v45). So the Israelites suffered again because they refused to follow their leaders and refused to believe that God had the best plan for them.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t try to do things in your own strength and wisdom; you’re only going to be defeated that way. Instead seek God’s counsel and trust Him that when you do things His way and in His time (including following your God-given leaders) He will work all things out for the best, better than you ever could on your own.
What is one area where you need to trust God’s way instead of doing things your way?