THE LESSON BACKGROUND.
When the twelve chosen spies returned to the Israelite camp from exploring the land, ten of the twelve men brought a report indicating that they would not be able to take the land because of giants (see Numbers 13:31-33). But two of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb, declared that Israel was “well able” to take possession of the land (see Numbers 13:30). They also said “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us” (see Numbers 14:8). The people believed the evil report from the other ten spies and turned against Joshua and Caleb. This led the people to call for the stoning of Joshua and Caleb (see Numbers 14:10). At this point, “the glory of the LORD appeared in the temple of the congregation“ in front of all the people, and God told Moses that because the people had constantly provoked Him, He would destroy them and start all over with Moses (see Numbers 14:11-12). As he had done before, Moses interceded for the people asking the LORD to pardon them (see Numbers 14:13-19). The LORD agreed to pardon them (see Numbers 14:20), but there would still be consequences for their actions. The LORD declared that all the people who had seen His many miracles and still tested and disobeyed Him would not see the land of Canaan; their bodies would fall in the wilderness (see Numbers 14:22-29). God even declared that the Israelites would wander in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each day the spies spent exploring the land (see Numbers 14:34-37); but Joshua and Caleb, the only ones over 20 years old would enter the land (see Numbers 14:38). Then in chapter 15, God gave Israel more rules to govern themselves including offering sacrifices to the LORD, laws concerning treatment of strangers when they would finally possess the Promised Land (see Numbers 15:1-16), and what should happen to Jews who sinned either through ignorance or presumptuously or purposely (see Numbers 15:1-31). Then the LORD commanded Moses to have the people put fringes on the border of their robes covered with a blue ribbon to remind them that they belonged to the LORD, and they were to be holy and obey Him (see Numbers 15:37-41). Our lesson comes from chapter 16.