BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON.
After the Israelites left Egypt, about three months later they came to the wilderness of Sinai (see Exodus 19:1). They camped near Mount Sinai (or Horeb) where the LORD gave them the Ten Commandments and other laws found in Exodus and Leviticus. At Mount Sinai God also established the Mosaic Covenant with Israel making them His chosen people (see Exodus 19:1-8). When we compare Exodus 19:1 with Numbers 10:11, we see that the people were at Mount Sinai for almost two years. As the people continued their journey from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land their grumbling and murmuring continued (see Numbers 11:1-3) and got so bad that the LORD sent fire to burn up those who were complaining, and Moses had to intervene for them with the LORD to put out the fire (see Numbers 11:4). But just as soon as this episode was over, the people complained about being tired of the manna and wanted meat to eat (see Numbers 11:5-6). But again, God demonstrated both His mercy and His grace when He provided quails for them to eat (see Numbers 11:31-32) just as He had done when they were in the Wilderness of Sin (see Exodus 16:1, 12, 13). But as if the complaining from the people wasn’t enough, Moses’ brother Aaron and his sister Miriam murmured against Moses out of jealousy (see Number 12:1-2). God responded to them by calling Moses, Aaron and Miriam to come before Him. Then He told Aaron and Miriam that Moses was not like any other prophet who God revealed Himself to in visions and dreams. Unlike those prophets, God said Moses was faithful in all of Israel despite their unfaithfulness and the people’s and that was why He spoke to Moses mouth to mouth (see Numbers 12:3-8). Then God in His anger struck Miriam with leprosy and Aaron appealed to Moses to ask God to heal her (see Numbers 12:9-12). Moses did as Aaron requested, and God said He would do it but not until Miriam remained outside of the camp for seven days (see Numbers 12:13-15). After those seven days, the people continued their journey and made camp in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh-barnea (see Numbers 12:16; 13:26; Deuteronomy 1:19) on the southern border of Canaan. There, Moses encouraged the Israelites to enter the land without fear and in God’s strength (see Deuteronomy 1:19-21). The events in this lesson mark a great turning point in Israel’s journey to Canaan. Our lesson begins with Numbers chapter 13