“Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
— Numbers 14:3-4
The Israelites threatened to overthrow Moses and replace him with a leader who would take them back to Egypt (Num. 14:4). This threat was so serious that Joshua and Caleb tore their clothing as a sign of their grief and distress. They spoke to all the people, arguing, “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey’” (vv. 7–8).
They were two million strong. The Lord was with them. He had caused water to flow out of the rock, miraculously fed them with manna daily, and defeated their enemies in the wilderness. What were they worried about? Joshua and Caleb told the people, “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them” (v. 9). Their warning not to rebel against the Lord indicates that their rebellion against Moses was actually rebellion against the Lord.
Adapted from Joshua: A Life of Service, pages 32-33.
Tomorrow: “A Severe Judgment”