Continuing from the previous post there were a few other thoughts that came to light as I was reading the account in Numbers 13 and 14.
Instead of going in faith with God on their side, they (the nation of Israel) provoked God with unbelief, complaining and doubt. To the point that they wanted to go BACK to the slavery of Egypt. (“Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Ex. 14:4) They wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb for saying they should trust the Lord! Because Joshua and Caleb did not follow the crowd, the crowd wanted to kill them, get rid of them. They were saying we do not want to hear what you have to say, for it is contrary to what we want to believe; what we want do. Do you see any modern day similarities in this scenario, or is it just me?
And God responds: “How long will these people reject me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?”
Do you blame Him for being upset by them? They are rejecting Him, their Creator and deliverer. After all He has done for them.
It’s a wonder He doesn’t just wipe them out.
Actually, He has that thought. He tells Moses: “I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Ahh…but,Moses intercedes. Can you imagine? Would you? He reminds the Lord that the Egyptians KNOW what He has done for the Israelites. They saw and experienced the miracles just as the Israelites did. He says, they heard of your power, God; they experienced your power. If you destroy these people now the Egyptians, the other nations will say you were not able to fulfill your promise.
There are several 'head shaking' scenarios for me throughout this account, but I'll stick to just one more.
The people God had chosen to be HIS representatives to the other nations – the Israelites – continually doubt, complain and question Him; no matter the miracles they have experienced first hand; which God did for them!
Yet, the other people, the Egyptians, the other nations - KNEW it was God with Israel performing those miracles. They knew God had delivered the Israelites from the hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt and was with them in the desert. They knew it was God guiding them with the cloud by day and the fire by night. THEY KNEW. No matter how they railed against the God of Israel, or how many false ‘gods’ they embraced as a god – they KNEW in their heart of hearts that here was THE God and He was with the nation of Israel. The Egyptians did. The other nations around them did.
The Israelites refused to know.
Read it for yourself: Numbers 14 as well in Exodus and throughout the whole Old Testament.
Yet, God stuck with them to the end – to this day even. Oh yes, God is still the God of Israel. But not just Israel; He is the God of ALL who believe.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22
Bringing application to today - as Israel was a representative of God to the other nations, so ‘the church’; ‘the body of Christ’ (those who profess Jesus Christ as Savior) is called to be an ambassador for Christ now. (IICorinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20)
What is an ambassador but a representative? Today WE, the church, are the representatives to all people. The parallel I see here is how God’s people today – the church- as His representatives to all peoples continually doubt, complain and question Him just like the nation of Israel. Despite the promises before us and the ways in which He proves Himself to us time and again.
And in the modern day scenario as well – it is the ‘all peoples’ – those not professing to believe Christ – who bring us to task when we do not demonstrate our belief in our daily lives. Sometimes it seems like they have more faith in the God they reject and do not know personally than we who profess to know Him!
Why is that?
Why is that?
An add on: After listening to the message this past Sunday it seemed to me there was a tie in with the quandary of the above scenario and question ‘Why is that?’
Perhaps a part of the answer lies in that fact that EVEN heroes have hang ups. Aren’t we all just a mixed bag of characters: hero qualities on one side – hang ups on the other?
Won’t you find time to listen as Jim gives 5 things that can be learned from one hero with hang ups. The great news is that with hang ups and all God wants to and CAN use us. He isn't hindered in the least by our shortcomings, doubts, complaints and lack of faith. He knows we are but dust, yet HE loves us and will stick with us to the end as well!
Grace and Peace
Grace and Peace