- Despite everything God had done for the people – the manna, the quails, parting the red sea, speaking to them from Mount Sinai, water from rocks, etc. After all the miracles, when they heard that the people in the land were very powerful and could not be beaten, they did not think, “Well, the Lord if very strong. He worked wonders to bring out of slavery in Egypt and bring us this far. Surely this is not too difficult for him”. No, instead, they wanted to return to Egypt – to slavery! When Joshua and Caleb tried to talk them out of it, they talked about stoning them. What in all of creation was wrong with them? Were they blind, stupid, forgetful or just plain wicked?
- I remember when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt in Exodus 13: 17, 18 and made them take the longer route because he thought if they took the shorter route and faced war, they would become scared and return to Egypt. I understand that better now, having seen what incurable sissies the Israelites were.
- It is a testimony to God’s patience that he didn’t wipe them out then. He threatened to, but he didn’t do it because the people had a good intercessor – Moses.
- To stop God from wiping out the Israelites, Moses appealed to his honor. He reminded him that people would think he destroyed the Israelites because he was not strong enough to give them the land he had promised them.
- God chose the right person to lead the Israelites. Even though Moses was frustrated with them too, he still begged God not to destroy them. Did he do it for the people or for God or both?
- Moses made the point that God forgives people, but never leaves the guilty unpunished (14:18) implying that God can both forgive the guilty and punish them.
- True to Moses’ suggestion, God says that he has forgiven the people, but he still punishes them (14: 20 – 23). He does not wipe them out, but he does punish them.
- The people, when they hear God’s judgment, decide to obey him and enter the land of Canaan, but it is too late.