Daily Prayer Devotional for Women and Men | OnlinePrayerJournal


(From Scripture Union)


Lord, I believe in Your ability to do anything.


NUMBERS 14:1–25

The People Rebel 14That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 25Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.[a]”

Footnotes: a Numbers 14:25 Or the Sea of Reeds

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



“Moses said to the Lord,… ‘In accordance with Your great love, forgive the sin of these people…’” (13,19).

Think Further

What are the great prayers of the Old Testament? Abraham’s in Genesis 18? Solomon’s in 1 Kings 8, at the dedication of the temple, or Elijah’s on Mount Carmel ten chapters later? Jonah’s prayer from the fish’s belly in Jonah 2, or one of Nehemiah’s in chapters 1 and 9? The pickings are generous.

The prayer of Moses here (13–19) stakes a claim. It comes at the most desperate of times. The people have ignored Caleb’s godly advice, have refused to advance on Canaan and are taking applications for a leader to return them all to Egypt (1–4). Joshua and Caleb are about to be stoned for reminding the people of God’s promise and presence (5–10). Even worse, God’s patience with the Israelites is wearing very thin (11). Not for the first time, God offers to Moses the opportunity to spearhead a reconstituted Israel via “Plan B” (12). Instead, Moses pleads for sticking to Israel “Plan A.” He takes God on in the midst of his anger. He propounds how the news of such a radical move would be received in both Egypt (13) and the surrounding peoples (14,15) and how these people are sure to assume that Israel’s failure to reach Canaan is due to a lack of divine power (15,16). He challenges God to remember his covenant and character and to use his power to pardon as well as punish (17–19). Amazingly, God relents and issues a provisional pardon (20)!

What would have happened if Moses hadn’t prayed in this manner? The result is unthinkable! What then might we be missing out on as his people because we are not equally daring in our supplication to him? As James tells us, “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”


Who will we challenge God to save today? What difficulty in our family or church have we asked him to deal with?


Lord, keep Your people from falling into doubt owing to our tendency to inflate the difficulty of the problem and to underestimate Your capability.

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