And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. (Numbers 14:10)
The Glory Of The Lord
It was supposed to be a time of great victory for the children of Israel as they stood at the threshold of a land promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the long ago the Lord told Abram he would be given a land as a promise when his descendants would become a great nation. That time had come following many years of cruel bondage in Egypt and a perilous journey to Kadesh-Barnea. Spies had entered the land but reported great fear at the giants that lived there causing the people to turn against Moses and Aaron. Only Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies sent it to survey the land, exhorted the people to enter the land with the power of the Lord and certain victory. There was a great conflict among the people. They wanted to choose another leader and return to Egypt. When Joshua and Caleb pressed the people to fight against the people of Canaan, they rose up against the two leaders threatening to stone them with stones.
As anarchy enveloped the nation of Israel, the Lord God watched patiently. Finally, He had enough. When the people threatened Joshua and Caleb, the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting to bring an end to the rebellion. The appearance of the glory of the Lord was a visible manifestation of the power of the Lord God. It was neither a mist nor a common cloud. His presence was known and His will was impressed upon the rabble that stood to stone Joshua and Caleb and God made His presence known to the people. His anger had been aroused. He was full of wrath at these ungrateful people who had been delivered by His hand. The glory of the Lord was seen by everyone and it was a powerful testimony to the Almighty God they were rebelling against. The Lord told Moses He would destroy the nation and raise up another in its place. Only by the pleading of His humble servant Moses did the Lord relent the destruction of Israel. The punishment for their rebellion cost the nation of Israel forty years of wandering and the death of those who rebelled against Him. The ten spies who gave a false report died by the plague.
The glory of the Lord appeared many times to the people. It was a visible reminder to the people of the presence of the Lord and to impress upon them the awesome greatness of who He was. The people should not trifle with the Lord. What was tragic about the events at Kadesh-Barnea was the people had seen the glory of the Lord in His deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt. The plagues and crossing of the Red Sea was sufficient evidence of the glory of the Lord. While at Mt. Sinai, the mountain shook with the glory of the Lord with thunders, lightening, and a thick cloud. In the presence of this powerful glory, the people bowed down to a golden calf. Now at the borders of the promised land, a rebellious and ungrateful nation rejected the one who had delivered them. They would come face to face with the glory of the Lord for the next forty years.
There is no mountain, tabernacle or Temple where the glory of the Lord will appear. His glory is found in something greater than all of these. The glory of the Lord is now seen in a place called Golgotha where the Son of God gave His life for all men. His death is a long shadow cast upon the world for two thousand years telling all men of the grace, mercy, love and kindness of the glory of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises made by His Father. He can be seen in the word of God. Most men reject the saving power of the Lord like the people did at Kadesh-Barnea. The coming of the glory of the Lord did not change the hearts of those who rebelled because they could only see a cloud, fire and smoke. Most men reject Jesus because they cannot see what a cross can mean for their life. The glory of the Lord is the final hope to redeem men and without that glory there is no joy or peace. All men will stand before the Lord God and see His glory face to face. What will make a difference are those who bear the glory of the Lord and those who do not.