Numbers 20 and Rough Times

Youth Blog

Let's take a little inventory of what is happening in the life of Israel and especially Moses during Numbers 20.

  1. Miriam dies (vs 1). This is Moses' older sister who saved Moses' life as a baby in Exodus 2. A fairly critical piece in the whole history of Israel.

  2. The Israelite mass blames Moses and Aaron for their leadership and lack of water (vs 2-5). God was the one leading the group in the first place! They also wished they had died with the other slanderous Israelites presumably in Numbers 16, which by the way, was a way to kick the bucket that had never been done before.  Read it in Num 16:28-35, yikes. They even had the boldness in their faithlessness to point out that the land they were currently in had no grain, figs, grapes, and pomegranates, when God had promised a land with all the stuff they needed. He also proved it when the spies brought back unfathomably huge grape clusters.

  3. Moses himself screws up and smacks a rock with a stick a couple of times to get water out instead of demonstrating God's holiness by just speaking to it to get the water. The punishment was that Moses and Aaron won't be able to go into the Promised Land. That place where the rock is at even gets the lovely name of Meribah, or Argue-land, because of this whole thing. Instead of "Holy smokes God is good and made water come out of a rock-land."

  4. The King of Edom pulls a jerk move by not letting Israel even pass through their land, making the way longer.

  5. Cherry on top: Aaron dies. The head priest who had been there since the beginning with Moses.

The chapter concludes with everybody mourning for 30 days for Aaron.

Rough times. Bummer of a chapter.

Series of roughness are not all that uncommon in our life. Friends and family members die some so close to one another that we are hardly done mourning one when the next one happens. Road blocks in where God is taking us in life. People that turn on us as soon as it gets tough. Even failures that lead to permanent undesired life change.

Still go to God. "Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground." vs 6. Do it face down too, especially if you feel like that in your heart. Plus actually doing the posture outwardly to match what is happening internally helps you face and not avoid the feelings and spiritual struggle.

Take the water He provides. Even when Moses and Aaron screwed up, God still gave the water. Flowing water that quenched the thirst of thousands of people and animals. There is still provision in the failures.

There is still an eternal high priest that is there for us to connect with God. Aaron goes up to the mountain and dies. The priesthood lives on through Eleazar, Aaron's son. Jesus went up on a mountain and dies. He came back to life three days later and is now our eternal high priest. So many connections. God is still trying to get you back to Him. He didn't ditch the priesthood and the only way for the (rebellious) people of Israel to connect with Him. Sometimes difficult circumstances make us connect and see Jesus is a new way. Eleazer was a new priest for the people to go through after a rough chapter, and for us Jesus can break our previous understanding of Him and shape it in a new way. Not in an unbiblical, Jesus is defined by my circumstance sort of way, but in a way that Jesus is already all in all, king of heaven and earth, and we now see that more clearly.