Summary: What do we do with grudges? How do we overcome them?

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The Grudge

Text: Numbers 20:14-21


“After the Israelites brief stay at Kadesh, Moses was eager to press on to Canaan. He had obviously given up any ideas of entering from the south because of the defeat Israel had already experienced from that quarter (14:44-45).

“He therefore requested permission from the king of Edom to take the famous king’s highway (20:17), a route that passed from the Red Sea north to Damascus via the Edomite city of Sela (later known as Petra). Moses appealed to Edom as a brother (v. 14) because the Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother (cf. Gen. 36:6-8). Moses then reviewed Israel’s history from the time of Jacob’s descent to Egypt to the present moment (Num. 20:15-16), an account, he said, with which the king of Edom was already familiar (v. 14). Then Moses promised that if Israel were allowed to pass through Edomite territory they would stay strictly on the road and would not eat or drink at Edom’s expense (v. 17).

“The request fell on unfriendly ears. The king of Edom denied passage on the king’s highway which passed through narrow mountain defiles and could easily be defended and barred against access (cf. Obad. 1-4). Again Moses pleaded, this time offering to pay for any water they might drink. Once more the entreaty was rejected and as a show of the seriousness of his resistance Edom’s king sent out troops to intercept Israel. Discouraged, Israel turned away.” (From Bible Knowledge Commentary, electronic version)

What Happened?

The Edomites were the descendants of Esau. Israelites were the descendants of Jacob. (Gen. 25:23)

Could the reaction of Edom’s king been rooted in the conflict between Jacob and Esau?

Moses was kind. The king of Edom was hateful and did not just say no but sent troops.

The History of the Conflict Between Israel and Edom (taken from Life Application Notes, electronic version)

Jacob and Esau struggled in their mother’s womb Gen. 25:19-26

Esau sold his birthright and blessing to Jacob Gen. 25:29-34

Edom refused to let the Israelites pass through its land Numb. 20:14-22

Israel’s kings had constant conflict with Edom

·Saul 1 Sam. 14:47

·David 2 Sam. 8:13-14

·Solomon 1 Kings 11:14-22

·Jehoram 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron. 21:8ff

·Jehoram 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron. 21:8ff

·Ahaz 2 Chron. 28:16

Edom urged Babylon to destroy Jerusalem - Psalm 137:7 Remember, O Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!"

What is a Grudge?

Webster’s Dictionary says a grudge is “resentment or ill will over someone.”

Listen to what the Bible says about God:

Psalm 130:3-4 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? [4] But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.

The Hebrew for the NIV “kept a record” is “shamar” which means, “to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc. :- beware, be circumspect, keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self)...” (from Strong’s)

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