Our faith these days tends to be dependent upon whether we judge God to be worthy. We have a superiority complex over the Lord. Israel tried this, and only Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land. The judgy grumblers fell in the desert of their grumbling…
11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”
17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”
30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Numbers 14:11-12, 17-19, 30
The people of Israel, when they heard the bad reports of the survey of the land of Canaan, rebelled against Moses and the Lord. Even though Caleb and Joshua were clear and convicted that the Lord would give them the land, the people chose fear over faith and rebelled.
The wanted to go back to Egypt (again) and live in slavery. The Lord viewed this attitude as contempt of his love and provision and power in their midst. The Lord was so angry that he was going to destroy them and build a new nation. Understand this anger and power. Remember that God did this in Genesis 6. The flood was initiated by God because of the wickedness of the people. God is capable of doing what he says.
We don’t often realize this is true. And we would blame God for doing it. That’s where our level of reverence is at in the 21st century. Our faith in God these days tends to be dependent first upon whether we judge God to be worthy of our faith.
Don’t get me wrong. As the old hymn says, “how I’ve proved him o’er and o’er.” We prove God by our reliance on his love and faithfulness. God is worthy of our trust and our worship.
What I mean is that we think we are superior to God and we evaluate his worthiness of our faith like we judge the lives and behaviour of others. We often do this with no understanding of context or reason or motive. We are judgy. And when we are judgy toward the one who knit us together in our mother’s wombs, we are messing with the master of the flood.
The consequence for Israel was that only Joshua and Caleb would enter the promised land. The grumblers and the faithless would fall in the desert of their grumbling…
Sometimes I wonder if our generation will fall in the desert of our grumbling and judgment. Perhaps we have become too big for our britches and too smart for our own good. You’ve heard of being so heavenly minded that one is no earthly good? Perhaps we have become so earthly minded and self-centred that we are of no heavenly good.
May it never be…