Bible Reading Plan – February 12-25
Bible Project Reading Plan (February 12-25):
Numbers 11-36; Deuteronomy 1-12; Psalms 43-56
One of the most impressive things about the Bible is that its heroes are often unimpressive. Already, we have see Abraham and his sons do deplorable things. David will fare little better. Moses, perhaps the greatest leader in the Old Testament, also appears to have many faults, the most glaring highlighted in Numbers 20. Previously, the people of Israel had complained and rebelled, leading to the Lord declaring destruction on them. At this time, Aaron and Moses would intercede, pleading for God to forgive the people for the sake of his holy name (see Exo 32:11-14; Num 11:1-3; 14:1-20). Here, however, in Numbers 20, Moses and Aaron do not intercede; they each merely present themselves before the Lord, awaiting his anger and wrath.
Moses himself is angry at the people, an anger that rears its ugly head at the rock, where he denounces the people as rebels, and strikes the rock twice. This act of defiance, while seemingly small, was an act of faithlessness (see my sermon introducing Deuteronomy, here). Moses simply refused to believe that the Lord could bring his people into the land. Moses’ failure to lead the people into the land is a theme that would return in Deuteronomy again (see Deut 1:37-40; 3:21-26; 31:1-6; 32:48-52). The settings are important, found both at the beginning and the end of Deuteronomy, precisely where Moses presses the people to understand and trust the Lord’s declaration of promise to Abraham that God would give the people the land. Moses’ failure was a moment of learning for him, that he should always trust in the promises of God, no matter the obstacle.
Other Ancient Near Eastern literature of the time depict their rulers and kings as heroes without blemish. They are less history and more paeans to the greatness of the men themselves. Not our Scripture. Our Scripture knows that the hero isn’t the man, but the God. That is why the only man who gets this type of treatment, where nary a negative thing is said or written about him, only praise and adoration, is one in which God and man meet – Jesus Christ. He alone is good, and he alone is the mighty leader who will get his people without blemish into the promised land.