The word “Dishonour,” according to the Oxford Advanced Earners’ Dictionary means, “to make somebody/something lose the respect of other people.” It can also mean “to refuse to keep an agreement or a promise”. The Israelites chose to dishonour God despite His covenant with them through their ancestors. the response towards their actions. The topics for each lesson are: ‘The Israelites Complained,’ ‘The Israelites Rebelled,’ and ‘The People Worshipped the Golden Calf Parts 1 and 2’.  As a teacher, reflect on the attitude of the children of Israel. Are you like them? Do you grumble about your situation? Have a rethink by thanking God for what He has done, He is doing and will do in the future. Ask God to help you not dishonour Him as the children of Israel did. Be an excellent example for the children to follow you teach the lessons.

Constant complaint: The Israelites complained

Numbers 11:1-15;31-34

Question 1: What does it mean to complain?

Answer: To complain means to express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. It means to grumble or to protest.

Question 2: According to the passage, why did the children of Israel complain?

Answer: They complained because of the hardships they passed through in their journey through the wilderness. Also, it is the habit of the Israelites to complain whenever they face any difficult situation.

Question 3: What happened to the people of Israel when they complained against God?

Answer: Their complaints displeased God. So, the anger of the Lord aroused against them, and the fire burned in their midst and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Question 4: When the fire was burning in the camp, what did the children of Israel do?

Answer: The children of Israel cried out to Moses. He prayed to the Lord, and the fire quenched. But when Moses interceded for the people, the fire stopped.

Question 5: Why did the Israelites complain about the manna?

Answer: They had an intense craving for other food and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! “They remembered the fish they used to eat in Egypt, as well as the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.” (The teacher should show the pictures or samples of cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic to the children). They have lost their appetite for manna because that was the only food they had been eating since they left Egypt. Their attitude showed a lack of gratitude to God.

Question 6: Moses also complained; why?

Answer: Moses complained because he was displeased and frustrated by the actions of the people when he heard them weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent. They were asking him to give them meat to eat, but he could not. This action made God angry. The burden of the Israelites was too heavy for Moses to bear. So He was fed up with the situation and poured out his heart to God. He also requested that God should kill him if he did not answer his prayer after hearing the people’s cries.

Question 7: Then, who can help our weaknesses?

Answer: Only God can help our weaknesses and make us strong whenever we are facing challenging and difficult situations in life.

Question 8: Did God provide meat for the Israelites?

Answer: Yes! God made the wind to blow and it brought quail (birds) from the sea and directed a vast number of them to the camp of the Israelites. The people gathered the quails as much as they wanted, prepared and ate them. However, while they were still eating, God became angry and He sent a plague among them, which killed those who craved other food.

In conclusion, though God’s judgment on the people of Israel was very strict, it was to teach them a great lesson to avoid being ruled by their cravings and to trust the Lord for everything. Are you like the children of Israel who love complaining? If you have this attitude, change and ask God to forgive you.

Rebellion: The Israelites rebelled

Numbers 14:1-4,10-12,

The Lord asked Moses to send some men to explore the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) which He was about to give to them. So, Moses sent twelve spies, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. When they returned, all of them, except Caleb and Joshua, reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey. Others reported that there were powerful giants in the land and they might not be able to defeat them. What was the reaction of the people of Israel to this report? Open your Bibles to numbers 14:1-4,10-12,26-36.

The children of Israel believed the evil report of some of the spies, and they raised their voices and cried aloud. The Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They confessed, If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!  They wanted to choose a leader who would lead them back to Egypt. They even planned to stone their present leaders. This action of the Israelites is known as rebellion. (Rebellion is an attempt to overthrow people in authority through violence) Eventually, the glory of the Lord appeared to them at the tent of meeting. God told Moses that would strike them with a plague and destroy them and make Moses into a nation greater and stronger than the Israelites. However, Moses pleaded on behalf of the people that God should have mercy and pardon them for their sins.

Then the Lord told Moses and Aaron to tell the children of Israel that what they had wished and expressed in His hearing would be theirs. Since they wished they had died in the wilderness, the Lord told them that indeed, that is what would happen to them. Those from twenty years old and above who grumbled against God will die in the wilderness, but their children will eventually get to the Promised Land. God also made an exception for the two spies who brought good reports, Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Num. The other men who came back with the bad report that made the Israelites rebel against God also died due to the plague in the wilderness, but Caleb and Joshua survived. Rebellion is a sin. Do you also rebel against people in positions of authority such as your parents, leaders, teachers, and pastors? Confess your sins before the Lord now and decide to desist from such acts.

Worshipping other gods: The people worshipping the golden calf (1)

Read Exodus 32:1-14.

Moses went up to the Mountain of Sinai to get the Ten Commandments from God. When the people of Israel felt that Moses stayed on the mountain for too long, they gathered themselves together and asked Aaron to make a god who would go before them. Aaron asked them to bring the gold earrings that their wives, sons, and daughters were wearing, and they brought them to him. He melted the gold earrings and made them into an idol, carved in the shape of a calf. Aaron presented it to the people of Israel and they accepted the golden calf as their new god. Then, Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed that there would be a festival to the lord the following day. The next day, the people rose early in the morning, sacrificed burnt offerings, and brought fellowship offerings. They all sat down to celebrate the golden calf.

The Lord asked Moses to go down from the mountain because the Israelites, who were Brought out of the land of Egypt, had corrupted themselves. They have turned away from Him. The Lord also told Moses that he had seen that the Israelites were stiff-necked people and He was angry with them. He promised to destroy them and wipe them off from the face of the earth and make Moses into a great nation.

However, Moses pleaded on behalf of the people that He should not allow His anger to burn against His people, whom He brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand. Moses told God that the Egyptians would mock them and kill them in the wilderness. Moses implored God to turn from His fierce anger and change His mind from harming the Israelites. He reminded God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. So, the Lord did not punish the Israelites as He had planned.

What are the things that serve as other gods today? It may not necessarily be a molded calf but anything you love more than God is a god to you. It could be football, fashion, or cartoon. Make God the first in your life and decide in your heart that you will only serve the living God.

Worshipping other gods: The people worshipping the golden calf (2)

Read Exodus 32:19-35.

As Moses came near the camp of Israel, he saw the golden calf and the people dancing and rejoicing before the calf. Moses became angry and he threw the tablets (law)God gave him for the people out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder before he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.

Moses queried Aaron for leading the people into sin. Aaron answered that it was the people of Israel that made him do such evil. When Moses saw that the people were out of control and their enemies were laughing at him, he stood at the entrance of the camp and asked, ‘Whoever is for the LORD, come to me. ‘All the Levites came to him. Then he told them what God had said, that each man should strap a sword to his side and kill his brother, companion, and neighbour.

The wrong action of the Israelites cost some of them their lives. The next day, Moses told the Israelites that he would plead with them because of their sin, probably God would forgive them but if not, God should blot him out of His book. But God told Moses to lead the people to where He had spoken to him about, and that His angel would go ahead of them. The Lord also said that He would punish them when it was time. So, God struck the people with a plague because they made the calf and worshipped it. God is merciful and  He punishes whatever sin is committed against Him. Examine yourself in line with the lessons you have learnt this month. What are the decisions you are making today?