Hey all! Today we talked about the next part of Numbers (chapters 17,20,21). Last year’s lesson and craft can be found HERE.
The Israelites were following God through the desert on their way to the promised land…but no matter how many GREAT things God did…the people just COMPLAINED! It’s easy for us to complain instead of THANKING God for all the great things He has given us and done for us. Let’s take a minute to think about those things and thank God.
In the book of Numbers there are 3 stories about the people complaining and not trusting God. The first time they didn’t trust God’s choices. Aaron (Moses’ brother was the chief priest–the one who would give sacrifices and pray to God to forgive the people for their sins (bad choices). It was important that the people listen to Aaron because God had chosen him to stand between the people and God. But the people had disobeyed and as a consequence, some of them had died. Instead of telling God they were sorry, instead they said “It’s ALL YOUR fault, Aaron!” They wanted a NEW chief priest. They didn’t like the one God had chosen.
But God told them to bring 12 staffs (one from the leader of each tribe/family) into the tabernacle (the church). The next morning, when Moses went to see the staffs, Aaron’s staff (big stick) had grown some flowers! All the people were amazed and reminded that God would choose who He wanted to lead the people. They put Aaron’s staff back in front to remind everyone not to doubt God’s choosing and to be thankful that He is a forgiving God.
But, it didn’t take long before the people forgot about God’s goodness and again started complaining. They were complaining this time about the food and water. God told Moses to talk to a rock to give the people water. But even Moses didn’t always obey God. Instead of talking to the rock, he bonked it with his staff. It did give water to all the people, but God wasn’t happy. So God told Moses even he wouldn’t get to go into the promised land, only his kids and grandchildren. Even though the people had complained and not obeyed God, He still took care of them and gave them the water they needed. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.
Then later, many years later, the people were still following God around the desert and again, they started to complain. God was very frustrated with the people for not trusting Him and He sent snakes to bite the people. It hurt a lot and some of the people died. Moses asked God to forgive the people and God told Moses to make a big snake statue and the anyone who got bitten by a snake could look at that and get better. If the people believed God and obeyed Him and looked at the snake statue, they got better. If they didn’t obey God, then they died. Was the statue God? No. Did the statue have any powers? No. Only God has the power to make someone better. He just wanted the people to OBEY and look at the snake. He wanted them to TRUST HIM and obey. Even though the people complained and complained, God still gave them a way to get better. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.
Sometimes when we make bad choices, there are bad consequences, but God still forgives us and still loves us. We can always remember that He is a forgiving God. The people did not trust God…instead they complained. When we trust God, we will be thankful. Let’s try to be more thankful and trust God’s plans.
THIS video by Steven Bussell has all three of our mini stories in paper-bag puppet form (very cute and well done).
THIS is a great overview of the book of Numbers from the “What’s in the Bible” series posted by JellyTelly.
THIS is a very thorough overview of Numbers posted by The Bible Project.(Today’s lesson starts at about 3:15 into the video and goes until about 4:35).
Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!