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Week 1        |          Week 2        |        Week 3        |        Week 4        |
Week 4—January 22nd–28th

Read Numbers 14:1-25 to see the whole context of this week’s verse or, if you’ve got a little bit of time, read chapter 13, too. In a nutshell, the people of Israel have arrived on the very border of the Promised Land, and they send out spies to go and check out the land (13:1-25). Of the 12 spies, 10 give a negative report (13:25-33)—the people there are too strong, too well-protected. It’s impossible. But two spies, Joshua and Caleb, give a positive report: “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” The first part of Numbers 14 is the people’s response. They’ve heard the two arguments, now they make a decision… And they make the absolute worst series of decisions they possibly could make. They believe the negative report (14:1-3), they start talking about going back to Egypt (14:4), and they even threaten to kill Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb! (14:10) So God enters the scene and speaks to Moses. God tells him that He’s going to destroy all the Israelites and start over with Moses. But Moses intervenes and intercedes on behalf of the people. He reminds the Lord of His own words from Exodus 34—“The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.” God hears Moses’ prayer and answers it, forgiving the people for their sin, although allowing them to live with the consequences of it. None of these people except Joshua and Caleb will enter into the Promised Land when the time comes. OK, so now you know the context. Ask your family some questions to really press this passage into your heart this week: Why do you think the people of Israel were always so stubborn and complaining? What about us, are we like that, too? Would God have been just and right to destroy the people like He said? (Remember Week 1—Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is right?) Even though the 2 positive spies saw the same thing as the 10 negative spies, they had a different perspective. Why? What gave them confidence? Why did God choose to forgive the people of Israel? Was it just because Moses asked? (HINT: Take a look at our key verse to learn about God’s character!) Why are God’s love and forgiveness important for us today? After you finish asking the questions, take turns reading through the key verse in your booklet and memorize it together!

Every verse in the Bible points us to the Good News of Jesus Christ. What Gospel Connections do we find in Numbers 14:18? (1) Patience. The verse says God is “slow to anger”. Anger doesn’t boil up quickly in His heart like it does for us. He is eternally, existentially patient. He gives opportunity after opportunity for His people to repent and seek His forgiveness. An old word for this kind of patience is long-suffering. (2) Forgiveness. At the heart of the Gospel is the truth of forgiveness. Only through the forgiveness of God made possible through the death and resurrection of Christ can sinners like us ever be at peace with God! What about you? Have you ever asked God to forgive your sins? Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior? You can do it today and because God is “slow to anger and abounding in faithful love” He will forgive you today and save you! Can you see any more pathways to the Gospel in Numbers 14:18? We would love to hear about it! Send us a quick email at fbc@fbcvan.org and let us know!

A song on God’s forgiveness from our upcoming VBS!

An animated overview of the book of Numbers.

Pastor Mark preached on this passage in 2017.