Numbers 14:11-20 details the account of when the people of Israel rebelled against God and the LORD threatened to remove them from the face of the earth. God presented the possibility of killing the whole nation and starting over with Moses because of the evil report from the spies who had returned from surveying the promised land of Canaan. Their pessimistic attitude and outright disbelief in the power and promise of God swayed the people of Israel to reject God’s provision and view Him as weak and frail.
If we are not careful, a quick skimming of this passage can leave us with a somewhat fickle view of God and His character. However, upon further reflection, the way God handled the situation was absolutely brilliant! God is not capricious as evidenced throughout all of Scripture. On the contrary, God was working to establish and equip His servant-leader, Moses, for the next thirty-eight years of patiently bearing with and leading these people through the wilderness. God had brought His chosen leader to truly realize where his passions and commitments lay. By the end of this interaction, Moses hit a major growth spurt.
Opposed to selfishly accepting the opportunity to make a name for himself as a second father figure of the nation, Moses showed that his greatest concern was for the reputation of God and the welfare of God’s people. His response, given in Numbers 14:13-19, demonstrated that he truly was ready to shepherd this congregation. He was not seeking praise for himself but rather sought the benefit of other people. His true motives had officially been revealed and found to be the same as that of God’s, others-centered.