“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah.”
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Three days ago we read at the end of Numbers 14… that because of unbelief, the people would have to wait 40 years to enter the land. Numbers 15 begins with, “When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you…” In other words, God was gracious and reaffirmed that despite the 40-year delay, He would, in fact, give the people the land.
The next 5 chapters (15-19) described how the Israelites should observe the law – in the land. Their life in the promised land would be different from life in the wilderness – the changes in the law reflected this change.
Today, we come to Numbers 20, and the 40 years are almost complete. The people gather together in the wilderness of Zin – which is just south of Canaan and happens to be the same area the spies first crossed on their way into Canaan years earlier. But that generation has passed away and we see that their children – though still rebellious, are not quite as bad as their fathers… Rather, the focus switches to Moses’ and Aaron’s rebellion. The consequences for their disobedience are severe, as Aaron dies and Moses is prohibited from entering the land.
We also read of the Israelites marching northward through the Transjordan (the land East of the Jordan River) and we see God’s favor return to His people as they defeat the kings of the Transjordan.
It’s an exciting time :) We are on the verge of seeing God fulfill a promise He first made to Abraham hundreds of years earlier!
But ultimately, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in the person of Jesus – who we find traveling to Jews in the outer most regions of Tyre, Sidon and the Decapolis in today’s reading from Mark. This may sound trite, but I love Jesus. I love watching his movements and actions. I LOVE reading about his healings. I can almost imagine myself being pressed on all sides by the crowds – hoping to catch just the glance of his eye… When I read Mark’s gospel, I feel like I’m watching personified compassion on the move :)
Until tomorrow… when the plot thickens ;)