Israel’s repeated rebellion in the wilderness is met by God’s justice and mercy.
On their way to the promised land, Israel rebels against God again and again. God responds with short-term severity and long-term generosity that speaks to his covenant faithfulness.
After centuries of living in foreign lands, the time comes for the Israelites to return to the land God promised to Abraham. But soon after they set out for Canaan, Israel perpetually complains, sins, and even incites rebellion against Moses and Aaron in God's presence. Eleven days of travel in the wilderness become 40 years because of their unbelief, and only their children can enter the promised land. Tired and frustrated, even Moses rebels against God's command and is forbidden from entering the promised land.
Each time Israel rebels, God displays his justice and mercy together. A pagan prophet is hired to curse Israel, but he only hears words of blessing from God. Even in their rebellion, God continues to show his incredible love and provision for them. The book of Numbers becomes a warning and encouragement for us to follow God and trust his good plan for his people.