At the moment the Israelites are camped near the promised land God is to give them. The land is occupied by others, so Moses sends a few men out to gather information. The Israelites are most concerned with how strong the other people are in an attempt to determine if an attack will be beneficial to the Israelites.
“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!’” – Numbers 14:2
Legitimate concerns given God has not been nice to the Israelites with several being shunned and/or killed due to silly rules.
“And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” – Numbers 14:4
Remember that the only reason they left Egypt is due to God hardening the Pharaoh’s heart. God is the one who caused the Egyptians to treat the Israelites poorly, forcing the Israelites to leave.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.’” – Numbers 14:11-12
I don’t know God, maybe show yourself to the people!?!?!? That might be a start to fixing your problems! You are God after all. How hard is it for you, the creator of all and the most powerful of all, to get the Israelites to follow you?
“The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” – Numbers 14:18
Slow to anger? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ROFL! Seriously? Has Moses forgotten everything that has happened? Forgives sin? Seriously? Do the wrong tiny thing and break one of God’s rules and you are thrown out of the society at best and killed at worst. That’s forgiveness? The worst part of this verse is the last part. The children down to the fourth generation are punished. Think about this. If your great grandfather committed a sin, you are still being punished for it by God. This is God’s way of forgiving you, to punish you for something you didn’t do.
“The Lord replied, ‘I have forgiven them, as you asked.’” – Numbers 14:19
God changes his mind based on Moses’ word. Who’s the God here? Is it God or Moses?
“…not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” – Numbers 14:23
This comes right after God says He has forgiven the Israelites. Bullshit! This isn’t forgiveness!!! This is you being a jackass.
“As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” – Numbers 14:28-30
More of God’s loving “forgiveness”.
“Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness.” – Numbers 14:33
God’s “forgiveness” also includes the punishment of innocents.
“…these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord.” – Numbers 14:37
Again, this is just after God has stated He forgives the Israelites. If this is God’s forgiveness, I want none of it! Where is Satan when you need him?
“Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.” – Numbers 14:44-45
And thus ends Numbers 14. The story many Christians take away from this chapter is how important it is to love God and place 100% faith in Him. That’s not how I read this. God said He FORGAVE the Israelites, then turns around and kills many of them. Sorry, but I’m not having faith in a God who directly lies to the people. This is NOT forgiveness. This is murder and nothing less. Children are punished severely for the sins of their great grandfathers. This is God’s love? No thanks.
Coming Soon: Numbers – Chapter 15: Supplementary Offerings