From Sinai to Kadesh

Numbers 10:11-12:16 – Th Journey from Sinai to Kadesh

Thoughts about serving others

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

One Reply to “From Sinai to Kadesh”

  1. It’s interesting to note the order of the procession as “they set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses” (Numbers 10:13). Very military-like! Perhaps more interesting, and pretty-much overlooked, is the conversation between Moses and “Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law” (10:29). Hobab whines, “No, I will not go” (10:30), but apparently he ended up staying with the group after Moses’ appeal in the verse that follows. The “father-in-law” was likely our friend Jethro of Exodus 18, the one who wisely advised Moses to break the group up into parts with various levels of command.

    Perhaps Hobab’s reluctance, even though he later agreed, could have been fuel for others to express their disagreement.  “Now the people complained about their hardships…” (11:1). It’s hard to believe the “rabble” who were cared for by the Lord would be so willing to voice their complaint: “But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (11:6).  The whining lot results in the Lord becoming “exceedingly angry” (11:10) and Moses is thrown into the kind of despair that every leader feels from time to time: “If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me” (11:15).

    So the Lord introduces sarcasm to the discussion: “Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it…until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it” (11:18-20). Moses questions the Lord’s ability to perform such a task…not a good plan Moses! “The Lord answered Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s arm too short?'” (11:23).

    Of course, the Lord provides quail, but the interchange between the Lord and Moses is interesting. Like any leader, Moses has a difficult task and no shortage of those who quickly become disgruntled. Even Aaron and Miriam succumb to this temptation in Numbers 12, but Moses asks for their forgiveness and the Lord provides.

    What’s the lesson in all this? Do we eliminate all those who oppose us as leaders? Certainly not, but that is not to say that we compromise on core values in any way.  Moses may not like Hobab, the whiny rabble or even the words of Aaron and Miriam against him, but he does not forsake them. He puts up with their imperfections because of this incredible statement: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (12:3). Lord, I do not claim any special talents or insights, but I pray that I may learn from Moses this lesson of humble attitude, of his love for you and for your people. May this permeate everything I do and say every day.

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