These are the ones counted by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they counted the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Man alive! So I’m slowly catching up – still about 3 or 4 days behind, but I had a few thoughts about the readings from 25 March.
Firstly – this bit from 25 March – it feels a bit like those Final Destination films! Those ones where a group of people manage to escape death only for death to tracked them down later on. I had kind of wondered how a whole generation would die in the desert with the sole exception of Joshua and Caleb, but through a series of seemingly random events that is exactly what happened. Most of those events seemed to have been initiated by an engrained problem attitude that just didn’t shift – people grumbling and grabbing like they were still slaves. So in some way the passing of that generation seems to represent the passing of that grabby, suspicious, untrusting attitude. In a sense that generation were the authors of their own demise.
Secondly, it’s a pretty dog-eat-dog world the Israelites were a part of at the time! God’s warning to the Israelites goes something along the lines of, ‘if you don’t deal decisively with the inhabitants of this place they will do to you what I plan to do to them’ (Numbers 33:55-56). It’s a bit of a kill or be killed situation – barbaric and ridiculous. But surely what God is doing is laying a foundation for a building that will one day replace all the crazy barbaric mind-set that dominated human interactions. He’s trying to pull his people forwards, one step at a time, towards something that more closely resembles Jesus. And we’re on that journey too – we have the opportunity to submit ourselves to God’s forward pulling – uprooting engrained and invisible attitudes that fly in the face of God’s best intentions.
p.s. I still haven’t talked to that house round the corner but did have a girl at an open mic say she’d be up for being part of a group that is about finding out more about Jesus!