Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rebellion or Trust

As Moses retells the story of God's promise and judgement to the Israelites, we see the struggle with faithful obedience and trust. God leads them from bondage and servitude through the wilderness to the land He desires them to live, only to have them rebel against Him, to refuse to enter the land. Of the twelve scouts that explored the new area, only two, Joshua and Caleb, believe they should proceed. Moses pleads with the Israelites to remember God's presence with them. God is angry and tells them to return to the wilderness. (See Numbers 13:25-14:25 for another account of this time)

Read Deuteronomy 1:26-45

"But you rebelled . . . 'Don't be afraid! The LORD your God is going before you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you again and again here in the wilderness. . .Now He has brought you to this place.' But even after all He did, you refused to trust the LORD your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day. . .
The LORD [said] . . . turn around now and go back through the wilderness
(Deuteronomy 1:26-40 NLT)

There is much in this passage and reading it in Numbers (referenced above is helpful). Basically, only two scouts want to go forward while the other ten remain fearful and refuse. God is angry. After all the supernatural help the Israelites have received, they still do not trust God's promise. God's Judgement is for them to return to the wilderness until not one from this wicked generation is left to enter the land promised to Abraham's descendants - except Caleb, who has followed the LORD completely and Joshua, who will lead the people into the land.

Apparently, God's constant, unfailing presence is not enough. His abundant provision for their journey through the wilderness is not enough. The Promised Land, a land explored and found to be magnificent and flowing with milk and honey, is not enough. So, this journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea changes course, from the boundary of promise back to years of wilderness. We find ourselves standing next to the Israelites, forgetting and questioning and doubting God's presence, provision and promise. Trusting requires stepping out in faith ~ with God.

Consider this!
  • What resources did God deny the Israelites?
  • If God's promise and provision and presence are not enough for you, what would be enough?

God of Promise ~ You give me everything I need and more. Forgive me when I turn around at the edge of more and say 'no thank you' to enough. You are more than enough! Amen. ~dho