Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Numbers 14:1- 45

Dec 26, 2020

“And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2)

A story is told of two men who met on a dusty road deep in farm country. One was a visitor from the city, the other a farmer growing many types of crops. It was a wet day when they first met. The visitor commented, “Mr. Jones, this rain must be great for your grass crop.” “Yes,” said Mr. Jones, “perhaps, but it is bad for the corn and will keep it back. I don’t believe we will have much of a crop.” A few days later, when the sun was shining hot, the visitor said, “Fine sun for your corn.” “Yes,” said the farmer, “pretty fair, but it’s awful for the rye. Rye wants cold weather.” The visitor returned to visit later in the fall. On a cold morning, he said to the farmer, “This must be capital for your rye crop.” “Yes,” the farmer said, “but it is the very worst for the corn and grass. They want heat to bring them forward.”

The Israelites were a lot like that farmer. They would not be satisfied with the obvious good the Lord had for them in the Promised Land. All they could see were the high-walled cities and the giants. They murmured against God’s chosen leaders, Moses and Aaron. They thought that being captives in Egypt would be better than entering the Promised Land. When Joshua and Caleb tried to give them godly advice, they even rejected them. They chose to look at what they could not do rather than what they could do with God’s help.

How often we are like Israel in our text. We cheat ourselves out of God’s blessing on our lives by choosing to murmur and complain about the trial He has allowed to come our way, or the seemingly impossible task ahead. We become like the Israelites and walk by sight and not by faith.

Someone once said, “The will of God will not lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us, or the power of God protect us.” Walk by faith, not by sight, and see what great things the Lord will do for you.


The Israelites had come a long way in their journey from Egypt. Many times, they had seen God work in miraculous ways, but they had a history of grumbling and complaining. They complained because they thought Pharaoh’s army was going to kill them at the edge of the Red Sea; they complained about not having the same food they had in Egypt; they complained about having no water.

In today’s text, the people were at the edge of the Promised Land. The twelve spies had returned from spying out the land (chapter 13) with a mixed report. The majority of the spies were against entering the land, but Caleb and Joshua gave encouraging, godly advice to the people, saying that they were well able to enter. Once again, the people could not seem to trust God for the victory, so they began to murmur and complain.

In spite of repeated counsel from Caleb and Joshua, the people rebelled and wanted to go back to Egypt. God was angry with them and wanted to disinherit them, but Moses interceded for them and asked for their pardon. God pardoned them, but the people were sent back into the wilderness for forty years of wandering. Only their children would be permitted to enter the land.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)

II.   The journey from Sinai to the plains of Moab
      B.   The stay at Kadesh-Barnea
            3.   The rejection of the opportunity (14:1-45)
                   a.   The rebellion of the people (14:1-10)
                   b.   The intercession of Moses (14:11-19)
                   c.   The answer of Jehovah (14:20-38)
                   d.   The presumption of the people (14:39-45)

A Closer Look

  1. What were the four reasons Moses gave God to spare the Israelites?
  2. After witnessing so many miracles, why did the Israelites stop trusting God and refuse to enter the Promised Land when that had been their goal since leaving Egypt?
  3. Has there ever been a time in your life when you were tempted to complain or murmur? What does complaining or murmuring do to a person’s spiritual walk with God?


Complaining robs us of God’s blessing. Let us cultivate the same spirit that Caleb and Joshua had, and move with confidence in the power of God to possess the spiritual land He has for us!

Reference Materials