Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Disobeying God’s Command
Numbers 14: 39-45, Deut. 1: 41- 46.
The day after their great failure, they were supposed to start their long march; Numbers 14: 25. But once again, they refused. Unbelief, complaining and a rebellious attitude are dangerous masters that cause no end of trouble and division. Prov. 16: 18. The children of Israel may have mourned greatly-vs 39, but it was regret as much or more than repentance. And even if they truly did repent, there is Always a Consequence for Sin. More likely, they regretted the consequence of their sin. They had rebelled against God in the very wake of all His deliverance, and robbed Him of His glory. Note their response, and that of Moses and Aaron.
They tried to: Fight the Enemy on their own. Application: Admitting sin is Not the same as confessing and repenting. They thought they could just start over in as much as God had forgiven them. Wrong!! God had forgiven their sin, but had also instituted a new plan as a result of their sin. The sooner they/we get on board, the better. Nugget: God would rather have His people wander a sinful land, then to have a sinful people wander the promised land. Neither Moses nor the ark left the camp. What were they thinking? The cloud didn’t move from the tabernacle, and the silver trumpets didn’t blow, yet there they went. The word presumed in vs 44, is to be lifted up, or puffed up or arrogant. They said “we will go up and fight” but God said, “I will not go with you”; In Deut. 1: 41-42, God says: "I am not among you;" What a scary thought. One of my wife's favorite verses sums it up = "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" - Psalm 66:18. Mans efforts without God’s blessings, do more harm than good. (John 15: 5 = "apart from me, you can do nothing"). Why do we keep trying to do it our way, on our own, and being disappointed by receiving worldly results from worldly efforts?
The Lord’s prediction came true of course, to the degree that the Israelites were routed over a hundred miles north as far as Horam. Bad Day. Kadesh Barnea shows us there is No Substitute for: 1) Faith in God’s promises, and 2) Obedience to God’s commandments. What is faith? Obeying God’s will, regardless of how we feel, what we think, or what we see. God delights in doing literal wonders for those who trust and obey, cause they glorify Him. Agnostic editor, Henry L Mencken said: “faith is an illogical belief in the occurrence of the impossible”. Mark Twain said: “faith is believing what you know aint so”. Wrong!! D L Moody said: “faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength”. It’s taking God at His word, and proving it by obeying. Contrast this complete failure, with Josh. Ch 1-ch 5, where the entire enterprise was orchestrated by God from start to Finnish. Think of it. All the armies of Israel stood in the sun for 6 days, without a word, spears and shields gleaming, ready for a battle that never came. What's more, they knew it. They (under the mocking of the inhabitants of Jericho) marched sidestep around the city. How absurd. What is absent in this story? What is the elephant in the room? There isn't the first mention of any rebellion on behalf of God's people. Not one discouraging word. Not one question of the design of God's plan. Perhaps they had learned their lesson during the forty years of wandering in the desert. And what was the outcome? A miraculous victory. Nugget: God always rewards obedience. He is looking for excuses to bless us, and we often won't give Him any. Now it is our turn. What does God want to do through you? We say: "That was then, this is now". But my Bible tells me God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God Bless.