Mo 5/8Tu 5/9We 5/10Th 5/11Fr 5/12Sa 5/13Su 5/14
Num. 16
Pss. 52–54
Num. 17–18
Ps. 55
Num. 19
Pss. 56–57
Num. 20
Pss. 58–59
Num. 21
Pss. 60–61
Num. 22
Pss. 62–63
Num. 23
Pss. 64–65


The New Testament teaches that Numbers is a book full of warnings for us. For example, 1 Corinthians 10:10 specifically warns us not to grumble like the Israelites did in the wilderness (see Num. 16:41; 17:5; etc.). And why shouldn’t we grumble? Because we don’t want to be destroyed by the destroyer! (Note that “destroyer” here is not Satan, but a heaven-sent angel who carries out God’s judgment.)

God’s judgment is to be feared in two significant ways:

  1. We should flee from the wrath to come and cling to the cross of Christ.
  2. As sons of God who have fled to the cross of Christ and trusted in His grace, we should flee from our actual sins, knowing that sin displeases our Father and leads to death (James 1:15).

God’s judgment is manifested eternally in damnation on those who reject Christ, and temporally in discipline on His children when they sin.

We get an example of God’s fatherly discipline in the life of Moses, whom we know was truly beloved by the LORD. In Numbers 20, God tells Moses to speak to a large rock, that it may yield its water for the grumbling people. Instead, Moses, apparently discontent with God’s merciful way of handling this situation, reprimands the people for their rebellion and strikes the rock (twice) with the rod of the LORD. It was God’s intent to mercifully provide for His people through His powerful and merciful word, but Moses appears to have wanted a more forceful demonstration through the use of the rod. The result? The LORD condemns Moses for not treating Him as holy before the people, and Moses is barred from entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:12).

There are a few lessons to learn here:

  • Obedience to God matters. Even in the details.
  • God disciplines those whom He loves. Sometimes that discipline is severe.
  • If Moses was not above falling into grave sin, neither are we. And neither is any Christian leader, no matter how successful and faithful their ministry has been.
  • God judges the leaders of His people more strictly. (See James 3:1.)

Finally, we must see that mercy and holiness are intimately bound together in God. You don’t get one without the other. 

  1. God’s mercy is holy. It is perfectly righteous and far beyond all human comprehension.
  2. God’s holiness is merciful. It is full of compassion towards what He has made. He demonstrates the magnitude of His holiness by making an unholy people holy like He is holy.

We see the marriage of God’s holiness and mercy most clearly in Christ Jesus, whom God sent into the world “to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant” (Luke 1:72).


How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You

To dwell in Your courts.

We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,

Your holy temple.

—Psalm 65:4


  • Adoration – Praise the LORD for the glorious combination of holiness and mercy in His character.
  • Confession – Consider and confess times when you have—like Moses or Jonah—not wanted God to be merciful to someone else.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for ways He has lovingly disciplined you.
  • Supplication – Ask the LORD for the grace to be merciful as He is merciful, towards children, spouse, neighbor, coworker, enemy…

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

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