“After you have seen it (the Promised Land), you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters of the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honour me as holy before their eyes.”
Numbers 27: 13-14 The Lord speaking to Moses
Numbers 25-27 (Psalm 48)
These chapters are a harsh reminder of the seriousness of sin and the consequences that come even with God’s grace. The people as a whole rebelled falling into sexual sin, idolatry and general disobedience. A whole generation die in the wilderness without the blessing of entering the Promised Land. A plague is seen as God’s judgement with the death of 24, 000. Moses and Aaron are not exempt, neither entering the Land. A census is taken identifying the next generation and those who will be blessed with a new home. Fairness and equality are the mark for an obedient community. Caleb and Joshua are honoured for their faith and obedience; the latter becoming the successor to Moses.
The harshness of the punishment for and consequences of sin demonstrate its reality and the holiness of God. It also explains the price that Jesus paid to justify us by His self-sacrifice and our faith in Him. We see that even with forgiveness, which is utterly complete in Christ, sin damages situations, relationships and has consequences that need to be dealt with. Faith, trust and obedience, however, result in blessing and the power of God working in us to grow the community and glorify God. Identifying our calling under God and following His direction is a vital step in this life of faith as Joshua’s example illustrates.
There is real need for obedience to God born out of love for Him and empowered by His Holy Spirit within us. If caught in sin we need to genuinely repent and seek His forgiveness. In that forgiveness we know no condemnation and are utterly forgiven and justified. We may, though, need to live and deal with the aftermath of our sin (damage to relationships, healing of situations and so on). Discerning God’s call on our life requires eyes and hearts of faith as well as obedience.
The Question of Application
We each have a calling in God’s community the Church. What might God be calling you to, in His Church; are there any sins or consequences of sin that need to be dealt with first?
Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty before He suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive His glory and repentance to receive His pardon. Strengthen us that in this life, with blessing and suffering, we may be changed into His likeness to your glory. Amen
Only by Grace can we enter by WMTV Music
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.