Brothers at War
Lord, awaken my heart and awaken Your church. Let us be the light that shows the way of life to the world.
Read Numbers 20:14-29
 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying: “This is what your brother Israel says: You know about all the hardships that have come on us.  Our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors,  but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. “Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.  Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”  But Edom answered: “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.”  The Israelites replied: “We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot-nothing else.”  Again they answered: “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army.  Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.  The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor.  At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,  “Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah.  Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.  Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there.”  Moses did as the LORD commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community.  Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain,  and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the posture of Edom toward Israel in their troubles?
It’s not clear what year out of the 40 we are in (verse 1 doesn’t say), but it sounds like Moses is setting a course for the Promised Land now. A fax arrives in Edom’s central intelligence service: “Israelites coming through–claiming they were badly treated in Egypt–they’re bringing their own bottled water with them. Can we let them through?” And the answer is “No.” This is not just a disaster for Israel. It is also extraordinarily harsh, since Edom was the alternative name for Esau, Jacob’s brother (cf. Gen. 25:30–“Edom” meant “red,” so perhaps it was a nickname; cf. Gen. 36:1). So, in theory, the Edomites were like a brother nation to them, though with a long history of hostility (cf. Gen. 25:22). Deuteronomy 23:7 suggests that one outcome from this incident might be that Israel will hate Edom. But God holds them to a higher standard than that. In the remainder of the passage, Aaron gets the same judgment as Moses did yesterday. He dies. And Israel mourns. There’s not a lot of hope in this passage. The Bible’s okay with that. At least sometimes.
Israel and Esau are not yet walking in God’s design for unity. Are there broken relationships you need to attend to?
Lord, thank You that You walk with us in the valleys and that we can depend on You when others fail us.