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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 16, 2024

Read to Read …Again

Daily Reading:  Numbers 11-13


Numbers 13:1-2

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.


Lack of faith is never a good thing for God’s people. In today’s reading of Numbers 11-13 there are three basic stories told. Each of these highlights the horrible results of a lack of faith.


The first is in chapter 11. The people complained and the Lord heard it. He always does. According to the Lord Jesus, very idle word a person speaks will be brought into judgment in that day (Matthew 12:36). These in Israel complained about food. They remembered, falsely, the food they ate in Egypt. They would rather be in bondage as slaves and eat what they thought they remembered rather than be free in the wilderness eating only that which God provided. So, a fire came from the Lord God and consumed these complainers. Did they forget all those miracles of God? Did they forget that in Exodus 24:7 they pledged to …All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. Yes, they received meat, quails, from the Lord, they won what they wanted. But they lost. This is a perfect example of “they won the battle but lost the war.”  They ate but they died. All from a lack of faith.


The second is in Chapter 12. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, their brother. They challenged God’s leadership by challenging God’s leader. The Lord dealt with this swiftly, harshly, and openly. Miriam and Aaron were commanded to appear before the Lord where they would hear from His own lips how wrong they were. Miriam was struck with leprosy and had to be shut out from the camp for a week. How embarrassing. Now, none of God’s leaders are perfect, Moses wasn’t. Did you notice that he even asked the Lord to kill him in verse 15? He was tired of the burden. Miriam’s lack of faith resulted in shame, embarrassment, and in the short term the excruciating pain of leprosy.


The third is the lack of faith that the 12 spies had when sent to survey the promise land.  For forty days they searched the land and found it to be a wonderful place of “milk and honey” but also filled with enemies. So too is the promise land of victorious Christian living that is available to all believers in Christ’s gospel today. Their lives are filled with “milk and honey,” but there they are also filled with enemies. One great enemy is the lack of faith. Because of Israel’s lack of faith, proven by believing the majority (10 spies said “we can’t” 2 said “God can”) they would wander in the wilderness for forty long years. During those forty years everyone over 20 years old would perish. That is except for Joshua and Caleb and their families (Numbers 14).


Yes, the lack of faith caused disastrous results. Those complainers did not have to die. Miriam did not have to be shamed. Israel did not have to waste forty years and most die. They could have lived by faith. After all, according to I John 5:4, faith is the victory! Every victory for the child of God comes through faith. But faith is a fight. An every day, twenty-four hour a day, all day long, fight. Usually, this fight is not against others, but against our own flesh. In the story of the food, that was lust of the flesh, in the story of Miriam, that was the pride of life, and in the story of the spies, that was the lust of the eyes (they saw danger with their eyes and instead of trusting God to deliver the enemy they wanted to be safe and live). These three categories of sin are outlined in I John 2:16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word always fits together perfectly?


William T. Howe Ph.D.

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