In chapter 13 we read the report of the men who explored the Promised Land. They described a land flowing with milk and honey, just as God had promised, and they even brought back some of the fruit from the land (13:27). However, they also reported, "'But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large'" (13:28).
Then Caleb silenced the people and said, "'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it'" (13:30).
But the other spies spread a bad report among the Israelites. They said, "'All the people we saw there are of great size. . . . We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them'" (13:32-33).
That night all the people wept aloud and grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They said, "'If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert!'" (14:2).
Joshua and Caleb told the people that the land was very good and the Lord would give it to them. "'Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them'" (14:9).
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them!
"Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites" (14:10). God 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 miraculous signs I have performed among them?'" God wanted to strike them down with a plague and make Moses into a greater and stronger nation.
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, "'If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, "The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.". . . In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now'" (14:15-19).
God forgave the people, but He said that not one of the men who was twenty years old or older who had grumbled against Him would enter the Promised Land (14:29-30). He said the people would wander in the desert for forty years until all those who had grumbled against Him were dead. But Joshua and Caleb would live and enter the Promised Land. The ten spies who had given a bad report were struck down and died of a plague (14:37).
Chapter 20 tells the story of why Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. When the Israelites arrived at the Desert of Zin there was no water for them, and the people quarreled with Moses "'Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place?'" (20:5).
The Lord told Moses to gather the people and to speak to the rock in front of him and it would pour out water for the people to drink. So Moses gathered the people and struck the rock twice. Water gushed out for the people and their livestock. But the Lord spoke to Moses, "'Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them'" (20:12).
The Lord told Moses and Aaron that they should go up Mount Hor and Aaron would die there. They did as the Lord commanded, and when the Israelites learned that Aaron was dead, they mourned for him for thirty days (20:29).
The Book of Numbers contains many interesting stories, such as the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram; the miraculous budding of Aaron's staff; and Balaam's donkey that talked. I hope you will read the entire book.
Fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet, and may God bless you as you study His Word.