I have pardoned them according to your word
Numbers 14:17-25 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ 19 Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
20 So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; 21 but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22 Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”
26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. 30 Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’”
36 As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land, 37 even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the Lord. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.
39 When Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly. 40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised.” 41 But Moses said, “Why then are you transgressing the commandment of the Lord, when it will not succeed? 42 Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the Lord. And the Lord will not be with you.” 44 But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.
It is possible for us to miss the plan and the full blessing of God and still be saved. In today’s text Moses prayed that God would forgive the rebellion of the people of Israel. Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. but Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.” Over and over the nation of Israel had seen and experienced the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand of God. They lived in the presence of His glory, seeing Him as a cloud by day and fire by night. Still they did not trust God, they rebelled against Him and would even have chosen to return to the bondage of Egypt rather than continue to follow God.
In the text God says: “As I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Even today, all the earth is indeed filled with the glory of God.” If we will look not at what man has done, but look only at the earth itself, at the marvels and wonders of creation, if we will ponder the depths of the oceans, all the intricacies of life, both human, animals and plants, how can we not see the glory of God. Surely all that is around us could not be an accident. Man, with all the wisdom he has gained over his thousands or millions of years, only understands a fraction of how things are and came to be. There is a choice we make when we come to a place where we can no longer explain, with our understanding, how something works. We either create a theory, a speculation to explain what we don’t know or we recognize the truth that it is indeed as God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) All the earth is indeed filled with the glory of God, yet as much splendor and glory as we see, the earth cannot contain the glory of God. God’s glory is also seen in the universe. His glory fills the depths of space, what is seen and what is unseen. Even more God’s glory is also in the unseen spiritual realm. The Israelites saw and experienced the signs and the glory of God yet they did not trust Him. They did not follow Him into the inheritance He promised. In the same way it says in Romans 1:18-22: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.
Yet the text says that God pardoned the Israelites and indeed He did. But there are two things we should understand about the pardon the Israelites received from God. First the text says: “I have pardoned them according to your word.” God pardoned the Israelites based on the intercession of Moses, not their own repentance. In the same way God has pardoned all the sins of every person based on the intercession of Christ on the cross. On the cross Jesus said: "Father forgive them they don't know what they are doing." But, to walk in the inheritance, to gain the promise of God, each person individually needs to repent of their sin. The pardon, the forgiveness is already there, but without repentance we too are left to wander and die in the wilderness. The second thing we see is that what repentance the Israelites did have was not for their disobedience to God, but rather for what they missed. The text says: When Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly. In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised.” But Moses said, “Why then are you transgressing the commandment of the Lord, when it will not succeed? Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. The Israelites were not grieved by their sin and disobedience to God, they were grieved that they would not inherit the promise of God. Many people today mourn their sin the same way. They are not sorry that they have disobeyed God, they are sorry for what they have lost. As soon as the crisis passes, like they Israelites, they return to doing what they want rather than following God.
The whole earth is filled with the glory of God. Jesus Christ, through the intercession of the cross has pardoned, forgiven our sins. Still to walk in the fullness of God’s inheritance and His promise, we must repent. We must grieve not for what has happened to us, but because we have missed the glory of God.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit Thank You. Because of the cross I can have the inheritance and promises. Amen.