Monday, February 28, 2011

All Alone

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
Our inn had taken care of guests for several months now.  I actually learned some Chinese and memorized a few Bible stories in the language. One night I offered to tell the Bible story for the guests. Jeannie sat back in her chair and listened.  I guess I did pretty well because she let me tell stories from time to time.

One time Jeannie let Yang, our cook, tell the Bible story.  We quickly learned his favorite Bible person was Noah.  Yang told our guest that the Ark sailed to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Jeannie and I realized he needed more training.

I loved being a missionary at the inn. Jeannie, Yang, and I had found a plan for each day. 

Not long after eight months had passed. Jeannie suggested I take a holiday. I didn't want to leave, but I could learn new ideas for the inn. Maybe it would be a good idea. It would only be a two day mule ride.

I packed the next morning and left for Tsehchow. Mrs. Smith welcomed me to the Tsehchow mission. She let me help with the work and practice Chinese. Three days later a messenger brought a message. He said Jeannie had an accident at a different inn and was dying. He didn't know what had happened.

I grabbed my things and headed back to the inn. I asked everyone along the way if they knew where Jeannie was. I traveled to the villages around Yangcheng searching for her.  On the fourth night a man told me Jeannie was very ill, maybe dead. I could find her in Chin Shui.

I hurried to the inn and found Jeannie laying on a pile of coal. She had walked out to the balcony  from her room and didn't realize there wasn't a rail. She fell twenty feet onto the coal pile. I didn't know how many days she had laid there. I had villagers help me take her to her room.

I stayed with her at the Chin Shui inn feeding and taking care of her. The wounds healed, but she seemed to be dying. I needed to get her to a doctor, but the nearest hospital was a six day journey.  I didn't think she could survive a long journey like that.  What should I do?  She would die if I didn't take her to the hospital.

Villagers from Chin Shui made a bed for Jeannie on top of two mules. We arrived at our inn two days later. Jeannie rested in her own bed while I listened to Yang's mixed up Bible story.  The next morning we put Jeannie in the bed on top of the mules to go to the hospital. 

Four days later I checked her into the hospital. I stayed with her for several weeks watching the doctors do their best to help her. One day the English doctor came to me. "I can't help Jeannie. She is seventy-four years old. I think the fall  was too much for her."  

That night Jeannie asked to go home. We gently put her on the bed between two mules and traveled back to our inn. Many friends gathered in Yangcheng to greet us. A few days later Jeannie went to live with Jesus.

I didn't know what God wanted me to do next.  I kinda felt alone. Come back next week and read what God did for me.


(since photos of Glady's life are difficult to find, photos of China's countryside will be used. These free photos are available at )

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Complains + Grumblings = Plague

By Mary Vee

Eleazar's Thoughts

I couldn't eat this morning. All the complaining, gossiping, and fussing throughout the night. And what for? The children of Israel blamed Uncle Moses for everything that went wrong or didn't go their way. My stomach hurt. I wished they'd stop.

I hung around the Tabernacle this morning with my dad, Aaron the high priest. After his morning duties, he met with Uncle Moses.  They've invited me to many meetings now to teach me what to do in the Tabernacle and the proper way to worship the Lord.

In the middle of our conversation, Dad pointed toward the camp. "Moses, looks like the entire camp is marching this way."

Uncle Moses rolled his eyes. "I doubt  they're coming to worship. Listen. I can hear them complaining this far away."

Sure enough, all the children of Israel stomped close to us. No one stepped forward to lead the group or speak for them. Instead they all raised their fists over their heads and shouted, "You've killed the people of the Lord."

Uncle Moses gently shook his head and sighed. He closed his eyes and whispered something.  The Lord's cloud slipped down over the Tabernacle covering the whole thing. The crowd froze. Then I saw His glory in the cloud. The magnificent glory of God. I fell to the ground before Him.

The people turned toward the Tabernacle and gasped. Some of them fell back in fear. Not a single sound could be heard.

The Lord spoke to Uncle Moses, "Move away from the people. I will destroy them for not obeying me."

Both Uncle Moses and my dad fell on their faces before the Lord.  Some of the people from the crowd fell down, others jumped to the side. They screamed and wept. I couldn't see what had happened. Uncle Moses turned his head to Dad and said, "Quick, take a censer and put fire in it from the altar. Set incense on top. The plague has begun. Hurry to people that God might forgive them."

Dad jumped up and grabbed a censer. He ran to the altar to get fire then sprinkled incense on top as he hurried to the crowd. His breath ran in and out of his body. He pushed to the center of the group holding the censer above their heads. He stopped sharp between the dead and the living and raised the censer in offering to God for their atonement. 

The plague stopped.

Over fourteen thousand people died in the plague. 

I wonder, will the living obey God now?


1.  Why were the people angry?

2.  What did the people want?  (if you need, check the last story for answers)
3.  What punishment did God give the people?
4.  What did Moses tell Aaron to do to stop the plague?
5.  What did you learn from today's story?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


By Mary Vee
Numbers 16:34-40

Eleazar's Thoughts

I'd never seen anything so powerful before in my life. My heart is still pounding. 

The earth split apart right under Korah, Dathan, and Abiram's tents spilling everything into the earth. They vanished. 

Uncle Moses warned Korah and the others not to rebel against God's instructions. I could have told Dad and Uncle Moses they wouldn't listen. Korah had talked behind their backs to the children of Israel for days. Well, you can read more about that by clicking on this link:  Korah fights Moses.

After the earth closed over Korah the whole camp went crazy. They ran away like wild people screaming and crying "The earth is going to swallow us too! Get out of my way!"  I couldn't believe my eyes. They pushed into each other, knocking down children and older people, running into tents and tripping over rocks. If any scout from another country saw what our people did, their army would be sent to conquer us before nightfall.

I stayed by the tabernacle next to Uncle Moses and my dad, you might know him as Aaron the high priest.  The two hundred and fifty men who had joined Korah huddled together near where the earth opened. Since they didn't leave with the rest of the camp, I guess they still wanted to fight my uncle, big mistake.

None of them talked. They didn't seem to know what to do now that Korah had been killed. Dad stood next to Uncle Moses as if they knew something else would happen. They didn't fall to the ground and ask for God to forgive the people. They simply stood there, waiting.

The cloud with the presence of the Lord rolled and rumbled over our heads. This didn't look good.  But, like fools, Korah's followers stood their ground.  You'd think they'd come running to Moses to apologize. But they didn't.  A moment later, lightening flames flew from the cloud straight at the group. Before any of them could change their minds, they disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.

Uncle Moses and Dad looked at each other, shook their heads, and sighed. 

I don't understand. When will the children of Israel follow God's instructions? The Lord put Uncle Moses in charge.  End of discussion.

The three of us stood there, alone. The Lord called to my uncle. Dad and I waited to hear the message.  A little later, Uncle Moses walked over to me and put his arm on my shoulder. "Eleazar, the Lord wants you to pick up the censers from the fire and hammer them into plates. Put the plates on top of the altar. The plates will be a reminder to our people not to come near to the Lord to offer incense unless a member of Aaron's family. The plates will also help them remember what happened to Korah and his followers who disobeyed."

I did everything Uncle Moses asked me to do. I wonder if our people have learned who God wants as leader yet.

1. Why did the people run away?
2. Why did the group of men stay?
3. What did God do?
4. Who did God ask to clean up the censers?
5. Who is Eleazer?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Villagers Screamed: "Foreign Devils"

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
If someone had asked me what a missionary did in a foreign country, I would have said, "Tell people about Jesus, help the community, and start a church."  Well, wouldn't you?

But that wasn't my assigned work in Yengcheng, China. I scraped dirt from mule's hoofs, fed and cleaned them, and the area where they stood. Who'd want to stand near me?  I really stank. 

I tried to finish the work while the muleteers ate then join the story time to learn Bible stories in their language.

When word spread to other muleteers that our inn offered stories each evening plus a clean place to sleep, and food all for the same price as other inns I didn't have to drag the first mule into our court anymore.

Jeannie Lawson and I worked hard in the mornings and evenings. In the afternoons, I studied Chinese with Yang, our cook. Sometimes I'd go for a walk or join Jeannie Lawson on her walk.  

Yangcheng was built on the tip of a mountain where a trail had been for muleteers. Every traveler had to go through one gate, pass through the town, then go out the other gate to complete their journey. Unless someone wanted to tumble down the mountain, they had to go through the city. 

On one walk, Jeannie stopped and sighed. "We need to tell more people about Jesus. This Sunday, we'll walk to a village and tell Bible stories."

"But won't they throw dirt at us?"

"I'm sure they will. They'll call us names and try to run us away. But we'll stand outside the village walls and tell Bible stories. You'll see. In time their curiosity will force them to listen."

The next Sunday we walked to the closest village. Chinese villagers ran out to us, scooped up mud or dirt and threw it at us, shouting "foreign devil, go away."

Jeannie marched forward to the village wall. I wished I could ignore the mean words like Jeannine. It broke my heart and reminded me of the times kids from school called me names.

Jeannie found an good place to stand outside the village wall. She chose the story of Jesus' birth.  Her words seeped into empty air. The people had stomped back inside their village.

Jeannie kept telling the story as though a crowd of people sat on the grass.  I looked around and saw no one there. After a moment a few villagers crept out of the village and sat close to the wall. As Jeannie kept talking, more villages joined them. They moved closer to us to hear better. 

My heart pounded with joy. Jeannie was right!  

I feel like a real missionary. Now, I don't mind cleaning mules or any other chore.

I'd like to tell you more. Come back next week.


Dear Reader,
I am grateful you have stopped by today. If you've enjoy these stories, would you show me by becoming a follower?  There is a button "follow me" on the right side to click. Thank you.  
Mary Vee

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Earth Swallowed Korah

By Mary Vee
Numbers 16:16-33

An Israelite Leader's Thoughts

Yesterday I watched Korah lead a group of our camp leaders to Moses. Even though I was a leader, he hadn't asked me to join the group. Perhaps he thought I wouldn't agree with his decision to overtake Moses' authority.  

After hearing him tell Moses that anyone from the camp could lead the Israelites, he chose right. I wouldn't have joined his group.

This morning Korah, Dathan, and Abiram along with the two hundred and fifty leaders who followed them brought golden containers called censers with incense and fire to the door of the Tabernacle. I crept near enough to hear, but not close enough to be part of the group.

Moses and Aaron joined them at the door. Aaron presented his golden censer with fire and incense. As the men stood before the Tabernacle the glory of the Lord came down on the Tabernacle.  

My heart beats wildly every time I see the cloud. To think, the glory of the Lord appears before us. I watched in silence, not knowing what the Lord would do. 

The rest of the camp crowded close to Korah's group to watch.  Moments later, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and they fell on their face shouting something like, "O God, will You be angry with all the people because of one man's sin?" The Lord spoke to Moses again, but I'm not sure what He said.

Moses leaped to his feet. He ran to us and shouted, "Get away from the tents of these wicked men! Don't touch anything of theirs or you'll be punished with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."

Well, I ran like a rabbit with the others from our camp to a safe distance. I turned in time to see Dathan and Abiram bring their wives, sons, and children outside their tents. Moses raised his arms, with his staff in one hand and shouted, "By this you will know that the Lord has sent me to do His works: If these men die naturally, like all men, or have an accident like many men do, then the Lord has not sent me."

He raised his arms even higher and looked toward the sky. "But, if the Lord creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth to swallow these men with all their belongings, and if they're buried alive, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord."

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram laughed for one short moment. Then they stopped. The earth rumbled and rolled. I grabbed onto the boulder near me and watched the ground by Korah break apart. It split deep like I've never seen before. Korah and the others grabbed onto each other to steady themselves, but it didn't help.  

The crack grew deeper and wider until Korah, Dathan, and Abiram along with everything they had fell into the earth. 

Then as quickly as the rumble started, it stopped--and they were gone. 




1. Who told Korah and his followers to meet at the Tabernacle?
2. What were they to bring?
3. Moses said, "If_______________ then the Lord has not sent me."
4. Moses said, "But if the Lord _________ these men have been rejected by the Lord."
5. Why didn't the leader who told the story join Korah?
6. What did you learn from this story?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Korah fights Moses

By Mary Vee
Numbers 16:1-16

Moses Thoughts

Aaron and I came out of the Tabernacle and found a group of men standing there.  They looked angry, really angry.

Korah, one of the Levites stepped toward me. I knew right away he didn't have anything good to say. He didn't even wait for me to ask what was going on before blurting his message. "You take too much upon yourselves." From the look on his face, I knew he didn't care about the amount of work Aaron or I did. He had nothing but mischief in mind.

Korah glanced back at the leaders with him.  They gave him a nod and signaled him to keep talking. Korah straightened his shoulders. "Moses, haven't your realized the whole congregation is holy?  All of us. Every member of the children of Israel. You can see the Lord is among us. So, why are you setting Aaron and yourself above us as though God made the both of you the special ones?"

My heart stopped for a moment. I couldn't believe he had the nerve to talk that way. Didn't he realize the Lord heard him? I dropped to the ground and kept my face low. God could punish him and any one standing around him.

"Korah, tomorrow morning the Lord will show you and the entire camp who belongs to Him and which one is holy. He will have that person come near to Him. You and all that are with you must take a golden container. Put incense in the container and set it on fire as you stand before God. At that time, the Lord will show you who He has chosen as the holy one."

My muscles tightened with anger. How dare he challenge the Lord? I stood and glared at Korah. "You take too much on yourself, you sons of Levi!"

He shrugged his shoulders and gave me a smug look. 

That was it. I'd had it with Korah's attitude. "Listen to me, you sons of Levi: Is it such a small thing to you that the God of Israel separated you from everyone else in the camp and brought you closer to Himself? He chose you to do the work of the tabernacle and to serve the people instead of any other group. He brought you and all your families near to Himself.

"But that wasn't good enough, was it?  Now you want the priesthood, too?  You, Korah, and these men with you have come together against the Lord, Himself.  And why do you pick on Aaron, the high priest?"

I called Korah's partners Dathan and Abiram to come forward. They shouted, "We won't come. We won't listen to you."

I squeezed my staff tighter with anger. I could not allow any more disrespect.  "Lord, do not accept their offerings to you. I haven't taken anything from them, nor have I hurt them."

I had one last message for that evil man. "Korah, you and these men with you must be present before the Lord tomorrow. Aaron will stand before the Lord as well. Then you will see who the Lord has chosen."

I snapped my staff into my hand and stomped away to my tent.

1. What did Korah want to do?
2. Why was that wrong?
3. Why did Moses fall to the ground?
4. What was the Lord going to do the next day?
5. Why was Moses angry?
6. When is it OK to be angry? (if you are not sure of this or any other answer, please ask your parents, pastor, or email me.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our First Guest Ran Away

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I woke this morning and wondered how I slept in such a filthy place. Then I remembered: China, missionary, Gospel, and Jeannie Lawson. I was home.

Jeannie clanked dishes in the kitchen. I'd better wake earlier from now on to be the helper she wanted.  

Jeannie made a bowl of boiled dough strings and vegetables for me. "Today you'll clean the courtyard, I'll work inside. As soon as repairs are finished, we'll open the inn and tell our guests about Jesus. I've hired Yang to cook. We need to work quickly. Many people have never heard about Jesus." 

My body ached from the two day mule ride through the mountains. I didn't want her to know. She might decide to send me back to England. After Jeannie's husband died she decided to stay in China to serve God. She rented this old inn at a cheap price. Before long God gave her the idea to open the inn then tell her guests about Jesus.

We worked hard every day with few breaks. I don't know how she kept up with the busy schedule. Yang taught me Chinese, ordered supplies, cooked meals, and helped with repairs.

During one of my lessons, Yang took me to the market. Even though I had black hair and was short like the people in Yangcheng, they stared, threw mud, and called me a foreign devil. I ran back to the inn, crying to Jeannie about what had happened. 

"Gladys, these people have never seen a foreign person. It will take time to earn their trust."

Before I could speak many Chinese words, we'd finished the work. The next day Jeannie reviewed our jobs. "Gladys, you'll stand outside the gate and pull in the first mule of each mule train. Yang will teach you what to say."

He taught me this simple phrase: "We have no bugs. We have no fleas. Good, good, good. Come, come, come." It took me the entire morning to say the words without help.

I went to the gate and waited. Soon a muleteer came. He glanced at the inn then rode past. After two more muleteers refused to enter, I grabbed the head of the next mule and pulled it into the courtyard while saying the words Yang taught me. 

The owner of the mule looked at me, screamed, and ran away.  His partner stayed with the mules in our courtyard. Soon the owner returned to the inn. He peeked inside and found his partner and the mules safe. He came inside where Jeannie told Bible stories, for free.

I can't wait to tell you about Yangcheng. See you next week.


(since photos of Glady's life are difficult to find, photos of China's countryside will be used. These free photos are available at )

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Korah's Rebellion

By Mary Vee
Numbers 16:1-3A

Korah's Thoughts

It wasn't that long ago twelve spies from our camp returned from a scouting mission in the Promised Land. I must admit, the ten who told us about the giants and strong cities convinced me we wouldn't win battles against the Canaanites. No way did I want to go.

The Lord punished the ten spies for making us believe we couldn't take the land.  He rewarded Caleb and Joshua, though. Those two raised their arms and begged us to go into the land. As for me, I didn't want to go into battle knowing I'd be killed. Don't misunderstand, I prided myself on obedience. I should have been rewarded, like Joshua and Caleb. I've done most of what God said.  After all, I was a Levite.

After the ten spies died, I joined a group of men who changed their minds about going to battle for the Promised Land like God asked. We shouted our apology and said we'd go as the Lord commanded.

Moses told us not to go or send any army. He said, "The Lord made His decision. He won't change His mind. If you go, the army will lose." Why did Moses always get to boss us around? We changed our minds and decided to do what the Lord asked. Moses was an old man. He should spend time in prayer and teaching what the Lord instructs and let others lead. Others, like me.

An army decided to go to battle anyway.  Unfortunately Moses' words came true. The army lost.

That doesn't mean that Moses was the only one who could lead the children of Israel. I'm a Levite and Moses' cousin. The Lord chose my tribe to care for the Tabernacle and assist Aaron, the high priest, with his needs. My tribe held an honor other tribes didn't have. I could rule the children of Israel.

When Moses went to the Tabernacle some time later, I gathered two hundred and fifty leaders from our camp. These men held high positions. They joined me at a meeting place far away from the Tabernacle.  "I called you here to discuss Moses and his leadership."

One stood. "He's the Lord's chosen."

"Yes," I said.  "But, has not the Lord chosen all of us? Didn't the Lord choose the children of Israel?"

Another stood. "True, but the Lord chose Moses to be our leader."

"Maybe the Lord chose Moses for a time. He is old now and must be weary. Why couldn't others help lead the people. I am a Levite and a cousin of Moses. What about Dathan and Abiram from the tribe of Reuben? They're willing to help."

The men thought about my words and nodded.

I raised my arms. "Do we really want other nations to see us with an old leader?  They'll gather their armies to attack and turn us into slaves. I refuse to be a slave again. Join with me. I'll lead the children of Israel with the energy the Lord requires."

The men cheered.

The next morning we gathered before Moses. Dathan and Abiram stood with me in the front. "Moses, we'd like to talk to you."

God did not want Korah to lead the people.

1.  Who did God choose to be the leader of the children of Israel?
2.  What did Korah want to do?
3.  What tribe did Korah come from?
4.  What sin did Korah plan to do?
5.  How can we know who God wants us to follow. (if you are unsure of this answer, please ask your pastor or your parents)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Can't Go into the Promised Land

By Mary Vee
Numbers 14:36-45

Moses' Thoughts


Absolutely unbelievable. 

The entire camp listened to the terrible report of those ten spies yesterday. Caleb and Joshua did everything they could to convince our people not to listen to them. They raised their arms high begging the people, "Let's go now and take the land.  We have the Lord to fight the battles for us!"

But they wouldn't listen. How could our people be that foolish?

Were the plagues, Red Sea, manna, and quail that long ago? Why can't they remember what the Lord did for them?

I'm so frustrated.

Because the people refused to listen to Caleb and Joshua, God punished the ten spies with a plague. They're all dead, now. The entire camp mourned and wailed throughout the night. I'm not sure if the people cried more for the ten men who died or for their sin of disobeying God.

The next morning, I heard a large group from the camp head toward the top of the mountain. They raised their hands and shouted, "Here we are. We'll go into the Promised Land. We have sinned. We'll obey this time and go into the land."

I can't believe my ears. Won't they ever understand God's power? He told them His decision: No Promised Land for anyone age twenty and older. I better go warn them, again.

I grabbed my staff and walked to the front of the group and raised my staff to quiet them.  "Now, why do you sin against the command of the Lord? This isn't going to work. Don't you realize you'll be defeated in the Promised Land because God won't be with you? The Amalekites and Canaanites will come against you with their swords. You will die because the Lord said He won't not go with you."

Do you think they would they listen to God's message this time? No.

They formed an army to send into the Promised land. I refused to go with them and there was no way I'd let them take the ark of the covenant either. 

Later, a few survivors straggled back to the camp.  I gave them water then had them report to the people. They wiped their foreheads and gasped for breath. "Moses was right. We didn't have a chance. The Amalekites and Canaanites came against us with their swords. We alone survived." 

Our people finally realized the Lord meant what He said. All the people age twenty and over wept the rest of the night.

1. What happened to the ten spies?
2. What punishment did God give the children of Israel who were twenty years old and older?
3. What did the people decide to do, hoping to fix the problem?
4. What happened to their army? 
5. Why did the people age twenty and over cry?
6. What did you learn from this story?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mules in the Inn

By Mary Vee

Glady's Thoughts

photo courtesy of seriousfun
Some people might have considered Jeannie Lawson a rough person. 

After thirty days of traveling, I stood at the gate of her inn rather dirty, tired, and I probably had a grumpy look on my face. She squinted. "Who are you?"

That might have seemed a normal question in most cases, but Mrs. Lawson and I were the only non Chinese people in Yengchen at the moment. Probably the only non Chinese for many miles!

She gave me the exact medicine I needed after that long trip: laughter.

She tapped her foot, waiting for me to answer her question. I bowed as the Chinese people did. "I am the missionary from London, Gladys Aylward."

She nodded and took a few steps toward the inn.  "Are you coming?"

That's it?  That was my greeting after riding a train across Russian, ship to Japan, and a mule through Chinese mountains?  I started to laugh but fortunately stopped myself before she heard me. This lady had work to do and it didn't include lollygaggling with newcomers. 

We walked into a large courtyard covered with scraggly grass. What a mess. Broken pieces from the inn's walls and other garbage coated the yard.  She led me to the kitchen. "I suppose you're hungry."

I wanted to be polite, but I needed sleep. She brought a bowl of strange looking glop. It looked and smelled nasty. 

I held my breath and forced myself to eat half of the food.  As I ate, Jeannie told me about the building that would be our mission. "This inn hasn't been used for a long time. I need someone young to help me fix it up. The Chinese didn't want this place because they believed it was haunted."  She laughed.  "I told them I would drive the evil spirits away. I suppose they think I'm crazy."

Her eyes sparkled. I knew I would learn how to be a great missionary from her.

Jeannie sipped some tea then told me her plan. "I want to turn this place into a real inn."

I hadn't seen many cities as small as Yangchen. I didn't think many people lived here. "Who'd come?"

She laughed again. "Mule trains, my dear. They'll stop by Yangchen to rest then continue their journey. We'll give them food, a warm place to sleep, and something no other inn does: we'll tell them stories for entertainment.  Bible Stories."

"How will they know to come to our inn?"

Jeannie took my bowl to the kitchen. "You'll pull the first mule of the train into our courtyard the rest of the train will follow."

"Me? I have to pull a mule into here?"

She raised her eyebrows. "Thats right."

Well, I'll have to tell you about the visiting mule trains next time.

Photo credit:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rejected in the Promised Land

By Mary Vee
Numbers 14:4-35

Moses' Thoughts

I saw it coming but I couldn't stop them.  
The twelve spies returned from the Promised Land. Ten reported giants. The news frightened our people.

They saw the large grapes, juicy pomegranates and figs. Still, the news of giant people caused them to rebel. I listened to them yell and weep all night long. Why bother speaking to them before they calmed down? Warm tears dripped down my face. 

Anytime the people quieted, one of the ten scared them more. By early morning the people cried, "Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should be victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?  Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."

"No!" Aaron and I fell on our faces before all the children of Israel. This had gone too far.

Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes. They ran to the front of the crowd and held their hands up to quiet the people. "Listen. The land we passed through as spies is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is happy with us, He'll bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' Only please, do not rebel against the Lord, or fear the people of the land, their protection has departed from them. But the Lord is with us. Do not fear them."

Their words did no good. The ten spies encouraged the crowd to stone Joshua and Caleb. The children of Israel became wild.
Then, before our eyes, the glory of the Lord appeared. I knew He wouldn't be pleased.

"How long will these people reject Me? How long will they not believe Me with all the miracles which I performed before their eyes. I will strike them down and make a mightier nation with you, Moses." 

I prayed to Him for a long time then said, "Please forgive the sin of this people according to the greatness of Your mercy."
The Lord answered: "I have pardoned according to your word. But because the children of Israel have seen My miracles in Egypt and the wilderness and have put Me to the test, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I promised to their fathers. 

"Only Caleb, Joshua and the little ones, whom the people said would be victims in the Promised land, shall enter the place which I promised to give. Forty years you shall live in the wilderness so you know My rejection for each day the spies were in the land. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so."

1. Who rejected the Lord?
2. What report did Joshua and Caleb give?
3. Who did the people choose to follow?
4. Where did the people want to go?
5. What punishment did God give them?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Bad Report

By Mary Vee
Numbers 13: 2-14:3

Joshua's Thoughts

We left our camp nearly forty days ago. Moses sent twelve of us to spy the Promised Land. My wildest dreams couldn't have imagined a land as rich as this.The crops flowed with grains, nuts, and fruits. The cattle feasted on green pastureland. The cities stood strong with traders flowing in and out. 

We'd spied the eastern, northern, western, and southern areas of the land. Caleb and I agreed this land would be a wonderful place to bring our families. Unfortunately, the other ten didn't think the same. They'd complained every night since we saw men as tall as giants walking out of Talmai

Caleb and I sat by ourselves around the campfire on the last night before heading back to our camp. He tossed a stick into the flame. "No matter what we say, they won't change their minds."

"I know."

"They'll give this land a bad report." He threw another stick at the fire. "It makes me mad, Joshua.  Why can't they see what the Lord has given us?"

I stared at the flames for a moment. "I don't know."

He grabbed a few more sticks. "Well, I'm going to give a good report. I don't care what they or anyone else says. This is the land God has for us.  I say we take it."

The next morning we all sneaked down to a vineyard, cut a cluster of grapes, picked some figs and pomegranates, and returned to Moses. We strung the grapes on a pole because of the size. 

A few hours later we returned to our people. Moses and Aaron stood in front of the crowd. "Tell us! What did you see?"

Shaphat stepped forward. "The land truly flows with milk and honey and here is the fruit." The people's eyes grew wide and they cheered.

But Shammua pushed forward. "Listen to me. The people who live in the Promised Land are strong, the cities have strong walls and are very large, and we saw sons of Anak there." 

The cheers stopped. Several cried out. "Giants? Giants live there?"

Caleb climbed on a boulder and raised his hands. "My friends. Quiet. Hear my words. Let's go up at once and take the land. We can overcome these problems."

Nahbi raised his fist. "You must be joking, Caleb. We aren't able to go against those giants. They're stronger and bigger. We're nothing more than grasshoppers. Do you want us to die?"

Some from crowd shouted at Moses. Those who didn't shout wept. They screamed at Moses all night. "Why did you bring us here?" "Why wouldn't you let us die in Egypt?"

I couldn't believe my ears. Didn't they realize this was the land God promised to them? They haven't heard my report, yet.  I've got to do something to change their minds.

Come back next time to see what Joshua does.

1. What report did the ten spies give about the Promised Land? 
2. What report did Caleb give?
3. Who didn't give his report yet?
4. What do you think he will say?
5. If you stood in the crowd and heard the reports, what would you have decided about the Promised Land?