christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

keys to contentment, part two

Previously: keys to contentment, part one

But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD --

Numbers 14:20

We are looking at the key to contentment and contentions, from Scripture. Perhaps the most famous example of a habit of contentiousness from Scripture is Israel in the wilderness. From the time Israel was delivered from slavery in Egypt, to the time Israel arrived at the entrance to the Promised Land, the first time (a journey of about two years), Israel had one contention after another with God or Moses, or both.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the twelve spies returned from spying out the Promised Land, and ten gave an evil report (Num 13-14). The congregation listened to the evil report instead of the good report, and wanted to stone Moses and return to Egypt:

Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?” Num 14:11

Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.” Num 14:20-24

Israel tested the Lord ten times, which the Hebrew scholars identify as:

1) Exo 5:20-6:9, Refusal to heed Moses when Pharaoh increased their labor
2) Exo 14:10-12, Complaint when Pharaoh pursued them at the Red Sea
3) Exo 15:22-24, Complaint of no water at Marah
4) Exo 16:2-3, Complaint of no food in the Wilderness of Sin
5) Exo 17:1-7, Complaint of no water at Massah and Meribah
6) Exo 32:1-6, The golden calf
7) Num 11:1, Unspecified complaint + fire of the LORD which consumed some
8) Num 11:4-6, Intense craving for meat
9) Num 12:1-2, Miriam + Aaron murmur against Moses
10) Num 14:1-10, Refusal to enter the land

All of these ten tests began as murmurs and complaints – in other words, contentions, dissatisfaction with their possessions, status, or situations. In the Lord’s analysis of their complaints, He provides us with necessary insight into the root of contentions and contentment.

Continued: keys to contentment, part three


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