Today we begin Numbers Chapter Thirteen.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Numbers Chapter 12 ended with Aaron and Miriam rebelling against Moses.
As a result, the Lord struck Miriam with TZARA-AT, a deadly skin disease that whitened her skin and covered her from head to toe.
Terrified, Aaron pleaded with Moses that she be healed and Miriam’s TZARA-AT clears up instantly.
However, there were still consequences to be paid for this flagrant rebellion against the Lord’s Chosen Servant.
Per Torah regulation, Miriam was forced to leave the camp of Israel and complete a 7-day purification period.
Out of respect for Miriam, all of Israel decides to not travel on until her purification period finishes.
After Miriam’s purification period comes to an end, we’re told the Israelites next traveled on to an area called the Paran Desert.
The scholarly consensus is that everything that’s about to happen (in Numbers 13 and 14) occurred in an area called KADESH-BARNEA also known as EIN-MISHPAT.
This was an oasis situated on the southern border of Canaan, west of the Arabah and east of the Brook of Egypt.
This is where we left off when we finished Numbers Chapter 12.
Now moving into chapter 13, we’re getting into a part of Scripture that could be aptly described as ISRAEL’S FIRST DOWNFALL.
It would be really hard to downplay just how horrific the rebellion committed against the Lord here was.
However, let’s not get arrogant and look down on the Israelites for their rebellion.
Their story is our story as well.
And the truth be told, in this chapter and the next one, a pattern is established that we’ll see repeated not just by the Israelites but also by the gentile church throughout history.
In fact, one could argue that the church with its anti-Torah stance is currently in a state of lawlessness and rebellion.
All of the ugliness, frailties, and faithlessness of fleshly mankind is put on full display here.
What we’re about to witness is reminiscent of the story of Adam and Eve.
Think about it.
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect environment.
Yet within a short time they allowed their evil inclinations to get the better of them and they fell from grace.
We’ll see a similar situation with Israel in this section of Torah.
Just a few weeks earlier, the Israelites had been consecrated by the Lord, given His Holy Torah for righteous and successful living, and are now enjoying being in His Presence and having daily fellowship with Him.
Yet we’re about to see Israel throw it all away!
For the same reason, we all lose faith and throw in the towel.
We let our external circumstances take precedence over the promises of God resulting in our fears and worries overtaking us.
At this point in the Scriptures, Israel is soooooooo close to fulfilling a promise of God that was centuries in the making.
They were so close to victory they could have tasted it with the tip of their tongue.
Yet instead of charging forth in boldness, they decided to let their worries get the better of them and they ended up drawing back in fear to fatal consequences.
There are so many things to learn from this chapter, so let’s pay close attention.
What could have been one of the most inspiring moments in history ended up being one of the most tragic.
I pray that as you move forward in your walk with the Lord, you learn the lessons outlined here, lessons that the ancient Israelites had to learn the hard way.