The outward situations are growing in intensity. Arad, Amoriates, and Bashan all fought against God’s people and lost, because of God’s power at work in Israel. They have learned much from the wilderness, and God’s power is effective in creating the impossible right before them. But the heart of the people is still ungrateful.
Principle: The power of the Spirit is simultaneously able to create powerful victory on the outside, while disciplining the weak failure on the inside. God does so when he is using beloved sinners and sinful image bearers to enact his purposes. His way of producing outward results is staggering, but even more profoundly moving is His way of training his children up close. When the people are complaining, God sends fiery serpents and they bite them, and then in the midst of the discipline God provides the cure. Do they have the heart to look to the one who wounded them to see His love and purpose for them?
Application: Do not count your outward victories as evidence of God’s approval of you. Beware your ingratitude, because it will keep rearing its head. When you fail, keep staring God in the face as you experience his discipline. In his face you will find the truth and love that makes you right before Him again. Expect God’s work to be evident beyond you, but let your primary focus be clinging to Him. He is your cloud and your supply.