You can be around God’s promises, you can hear the gospel, you can even be an upstanding member in a Church but unless you believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, you will perish outside of God’s promises.
We have come to the last post in this series on Numbers 14. I have shown you Israel’s sinful fear, their lack of faith, and their false repentance after God confronts them. But Numbers 14 also gives us a positive picture of courageous faith, God’s merciful character, and Christ’s mediation. In this final post, I want to answer the simple question: Has God rejected Israel for their disobedience? Will God keep His promises to bring them into the land and bless them?
God Will Still Keep His Promise Because He is Faithful
Numbers 14 ends in a depressing place. Israel attempts to enter the land by their own strength against the advice of Moses. What happens? Complete defeat. The last verse in Numbers 14 has the Israelites routed by the Amalekites and the Canannites. At this point, you might say to yourself “Israel is hopeless! How is God going to stay with them? Will God continue to be faithful when Israel is unfaithful and disobedient every single step of the way?”
Numbers 15:1-2 comes with an answer:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you, Numbers 15:-12, ESV emphasis added
Not if Israel comes into the land: when Israel enters it. At this point your mind should be blown. God is still going to give Israel the land He promised them. After all Israel’s rebellion, after their false repentance, after they tried to claim the land without him. What kind of God would respond in this way?
A promise-keeping God. It is who God is fundamentally.
After all that happened in Numbers 14, after all the sin Israel committed, God is still committed to keeping His promises. God is a promise-making, promise-keeping God. Even human rebellion cannot thwart God’s sovereign plans. Paul explains this truth in 2 Timothy:
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13, ESV
God cannot deny Himself. Even when His people are faithless. Why is God so faithful to you time and time again? Why is His covenant love, his steadfast love, so inexhaustible? It isn’t because Israel is great. It isn’t because you and I are great.
There is of course discipline when you sin. You saw that in Numbers 14. God does not let the guilty go unpunished. But He is rich in forgiveness, in faithful love. When you are tempted to believe God will give up on you or that He will not fulfill His promises in Christ because of your unfaithfulness, remind yourself it isn’t about you. It is about how great God is.
Numbers 14 and the Gospel of Jesus
In 2 Timothy Paul says Scripture can make one wise unto salvation in Jesus Christ. So how would someone reading Numbers 14 anticipate Christ? I would say there are at least two ways.