We enter into the territory of the people of God complaining constantly about the state in which they find themselves, namely, non-meat eaters. The meat eaters of the group, they were called those with a strong craving, continued to complain even when God sends a fire to quash their dissent. It is interesting to see that Moses even gets caught up with the complaining and makes the statement that he did not bear all of these people on his own, so can he get a little help from God? God helps and sends His Holy Spirit upon 70 other folks so that Moses can get some help and he also sends the quail to appease them and we move on from there.
Chapter 12 contains a story that obviously was not written in the times of democracy. The brother and sister of Moses, Aaron and Miriam, complain to the people that Moses married a foreigner. As a result God calls the three of them into his tent of meeting and strikes Miriam down with leprosy and she is kicked out of the camp for 7 days. Don’t talk against God’s anointed one because it is like talking against God Himself. Chapter 13 we have the spies going out into the land to see what it was like. It was pretty amazing, and this is where they call the land one that is flowing with milk and honey. But there is a problem, it is going to take a little bit of work to conquer this land, so let’s kind of tell the people that it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, and probably not worth the effort.
Up to this point God has promised that the people would enter the promised land. But as a result of this unfaithfulness God gets so angry that he tells the people that only Caleb and Joshua will be able to enter this land flowing with milk and honey and the rest of the population over 20 will die in the wilderness. This is where we get God’s punishment that creates the reality of the people of Israel having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, because they refused to obey God by giving a true report, but preferred to not say to truth in order to protect themselves and not trust that God would give them the victory. Kind of an important chapter here.
Chapter 14 we see the people trying to appoint someone other than Moses to be their captain so that they could return to Egypt where they had things so much better. So it is actually a combination of both chapter 13 and 14 where you see God’s decision to make them wander. He first wanted to destroy all of them there and then, but Moses and Aaron talked him out of it by saying, how do you think the Egyptians would take that? You would be a laughing stock. Good point and point well taken by God. He makes them wander for 40 years instead.
We then get to Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Remember, this is a church that he founded and that he loves, even though, as we shall see, they are not completely obedient to the Word of God. He begins with an appeal to unity wrapped around the topic of baptism. Baptism is not in any person’s name, but rather in God’s name. That is where we find our unity, not in who baptized us, but rather in whose name we are baptized.
This theme of God using that which is weak and lowly as the basis for his kingdom is powerful, especially in a church that values education so much, we must be sure that our reliance on education for our pastors does not take the place of our reliance on a relationship with Jesus Christ as being the primary factor to serving God powerfully.