The period, which Moses had to overcome was also the one period that Paul, later on, identified as, “a fight not only against flesh and blood, but also against invisible spirits,” which disrupted and literally wanted to halt the progress of God to form a godly state on earth (Ephesians 6:12). It was the same evil spirit that wanted Peter to stop the Son of God to complete His Redemptive Work (Matthew 16:21-23).
Moses had a power-hungry brother and sister. Aaron and Miriam envied the partnership their brother had with Yahweh.
They also could not understand why Yahweh would want a partner, who had married a Cushite lady and not a Hebrew. Apparently, Zipporah Moses’ Midianite wife had died and it is unlikely that he, himself, would have violated the monogamous law. Yahweh stepped up and confirmed his partnership with Moses at a bitter cost for Miriam and Aaron.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman; and they thereby sid, “Has the LORD indeed spoken through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. Now the man Moses was very eek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth. And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting. And the three of them came out. And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses, he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed; and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was learous, as white as snow. And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” And Moses cried to the LORD, “Heal her, O God, I beseech thee.” But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” So Miriam was shut up outside the camp seven days; and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again. After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and encamped in the wilderness of Paran (Numbers 12:1-16).
YAHWEH HONORED HIS PARTNERSHIP WITH ISRAEL AND HE HAD MOSES SENT TWELVE LEADERS TO EXPLORE CANAAN
Canaan overwhelmed the twelve spies. And ten of the the spies lost their confidence in themselves, in Moses, and also in Yahweh. Only Caleb of Judah and Hoshea (Joshua) of Ephraim believed that with God they could take Canaan. The ten men would delay the conquest of the promised land for forty years. The whole generation would die in the desert, except Caleb and Joshua, even Moses was not allowed to enter Canaan. Who made these men feel like grasshoppers, it was most certainly not Yahweh or Moses (Numbers 13:33). Someone has perpetuated a similar thinking about man into our time, but praise to the Spirit of God, who still turns weeklings into children of God, by giving man the power to do so (John 1:12). The Greeks used the word “exousian” and it was used only with supernatural beings. God did delegated this divine power to man to enable man to become a son/daughter of God. Man, however, must will to become or be born spiritually into the family of God (John 1:13)..
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Yet the people who dwell in the land are strong and the cities are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once, and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We Are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” So they brought to the people of Israel an evil report of the land which they had spied out saying, “The land, through which we have gone, to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” (Numbers 13:25-33).
THE CROWD BECAME VIOLENT AND MOSES AND AARON WENT ON THEIR KNEES; THERE IS POWER IN PRAYER
The best way to stop Satan from disruption a man’s trust in God is on his knees. It was when Jesus was praying that Satan could not touch Him (Matthew 26:40-41). It was the second time that Moses stopped Satan, the destroyer, from annihilate Israel. And Yahweh agreed and extend His mercy and His forgiveness once more. However, the Israelites did not take advantage of God’s grace; and they did not continue the march to Canaan. Instead, they found fault with Moses, Aaron, and even with God. Yet, the Israelites did not find fault with themselves. It was their own attitude that was against their progress. God works through volunteers, who partner with Him to build His Kingdom on earth, but the Israelites were unwilling to partner with God. Therefore, they wanted to return to Egypt. These same people never left the desert alive:
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry; and the people wept that night; and all the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why does the LORD bring us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
And they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land rent their clothes, and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which were passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only, do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us, their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” But all the congregation said to stone them with stones.
Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs which I have wrought among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they” (Numbers 14:1-12).
MOSES’ DESERT EXPERIENCE LEFT HARD AND HARSH LESSONS FOR POSTERITY
The question was and still is, “Who hindered Moses from completing the move of Israel to Canaan?” Jesus had a similar experience when He announced why He was sent into the world. And Satan even used Peter to halt Jesus. Jesus turned to Peter and replied, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Matthew 16:23).
Jesus returned to Nazareth and the people cheered. But when Jesus announced, who He really was and why He had come, they dragged Him up the hill to kill Him:
And Jesus closed the book (Isaiah), and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in our hearing.” And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and the said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do ut in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only of Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them he went away (Luke 4:20-30).
He (Jesus) went away from there and came to is own country; and his disciples went with him. And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of May and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among is own kin and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching (Mark 6:1-6).
Long before Jesus, Moses had the same opposition to God’s work on earth. Jesus’ own people were ready to stone Him. Everything these people had planned to do to Moses, God forgave and pardoned, but not the sin against God Himself and against the Holy Spirit. All the people that opposed the Will of God, had to die in the desert, without entering God’s promise of rest. Compare what God said to Moses, and what Jesus said to his generation, and what the Hebrew writer wrote to his people. Do not play with your salvation! For there is no substitute for Jesus the Christ, Son of God (Acts 4:12).
And now, I (Moses) pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great as thou hast promised, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of the people, I pray thee, according to the greatness of thy steadfast love, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt Even until now.
Then the LORD said, “I have pardoned according to your word; but truly, as I live and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the proof these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice, shall see the land which I swore to give to their fathers; and none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.”
And the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron, “How long shall this wicked congregation murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel, which they murmured against me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says to LORD, ‘what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and of all your number, numbered from twenty years old and upward who have murmured against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the LORD, have spoken; surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die” (Numbers 14:17-35).
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sins and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:30-32).
For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The LORD will judge his people” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31).
THE PARTNERSHIP WITH YAHWEH ENDED IN FORTY YEARS OF SPIRITUAL DROUGHT
Israel’s desert experience was very similar to Jesus’ and our own time. Man plunders in disobedience and in doubts about God, and then blames God and his partners for their wrong decisions and their acts. The leaders in Jesus’ day believed that Jesus would take their kingdom away from them and even replace Caesar (John 11:48; 19:15). In our day, godless people blame Christ and the Christians for their own steady demise. Take a look at what Moses was facing — if God had not stopped the children of the destroyer (Satan) from wrecking God’s intention to save man from eternal separation from God. Against orders, the Hebrew men decided to go on to Canaan. They were intercepted and badly beaten by the Amalekites and Canaanites (Numbers 14:39-45). Then, three tribal leaders, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 leaders, with their people, decided to escape death in the desert and go back to Egypt. Mysteriously, the ground opened up, under their feet, and swallowed them up (Numbers 16). God did not let Israel die! Because Israel had not yet fulfilled God’s purpose!