We often speak of Israel being God’s chosen nation and they were. However, as we have already seen, that doesn’t mean that Israel always listened to God. This week’s readings show us that even after Israel had been saved from Egypt and had seen countless miracles, they still doubted God; doubt that would ultimately result in a punishment that would last for 40 years. We will also see that even Moses is not free from rebelling against God.
What is wonderful about this week’s readings is that once again we see God being faithful to His people even when they are unfaithful to Him. It is important to remember as you read about the punishments that God imposes on Israel that these are not eternal punishments. Israel is punished with 40 years in the desert before they can enter the Promised Land and Moses is forbidden from entering it, but neither of them are cut off from God. Just as a good parent disciplines a child but still continues to love that child, God disciplines Israel but He continues to love them. Because of God’s plan of salvation, their eternal home is still with the Lord; a fact that is very comforting for us as we struggle with the sometimes very serious consequences of our own mistakes and sins.