Wilderness Christians: RESPONSES TO DISCOURAGING REPORTS IN THE WILDERNESS (Part 1)
With all their rebellious failures and the consistent witness of God’s provision and faithfulness, it would only make sense for the children of Israel to enter Canaan. They rebelled often and God forgave 70×7 times; yet, their hearts only grew harder.
It is now time to scout and enter Canaan (Numbers 13). It was entirely the plan of God for the children of Israel to go in and possess the land. God would go before them and drive out all inhabitants. It was a victory already won, guaranteed. All they needed to do was act on it by faith in God’s Word.
This is the same for the believer. Victory over sin and the devil is guaranteed. It must be acted out in a daily walk of faith in God’s Word. It is this faith that the victory is already won on the cross of Calvary; and now the victory is walked out in daily resurrection power that it is Christ in the believer living the Christian life.
All that was needed was a pure faith in God. Yet, the children of Israel, like many believers today, refuse to enter due to unbelief – unbelief that the God who saved and redeemed them could not provide true rest in Him. Therefore, the only obvious result is rebellion and life in the wilderness. You come to notice that wilderness Christians of today are always in rebellion against something.
This next rebellion in the wilderness is very crucial for the believer to understand. In his daily walk, he is always and directly confronted with a choice to totally trust God or run away into the wilderness. It is always a choice to face; sometimes the choices are more pivotal. This was a very pivotal choice upon the return of the 12 spies.
In Numbers 13:25-33, the spies gave conflicting reports. (More detail about these reports and their consequences will be reviewed and amplified in later.) What is critical at this time is the rebellious reaction of the Israelites.
First, in summary, two spies (Caleb and Joshua) reported encouraging news that the land was ripe for taking, as God had truthfully said. The remaining ten spies reported discouraging news, saying the inhabitants were too powerful to drive out, even with God leading the way. The ten spies strongly drowned out the objections of Caleb and Joshua.
The key points are the decision Moses made and its consequences. Yes, Moses, because Moses was the spiritual leader. He possessed the spiritual authority to make the final decision. Unfortunately he yielded to fear due to the peer pressure of the crowds. His decision and its consequences are absolutely critical and invaluable for the born-again believer to see the parallel in his own daily Christian walk.
Numbers 14:1-16 – “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in the wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us into this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said to one another, LET US MAKE A CAPTAIN, AND LET US RETURN TO EGYPT.
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation… And Joshua…and Caleb… rent his clothes. And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into the land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.
“And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shown among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians will hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in Thy might from among them;) and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among His people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which He sware unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness”.
Numbers 14:28-38 – “Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in the wilderness; and all that were numbered of you,… from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land,… save Caleb,… and Joshua. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in the wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land. Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still”.
In our next few blog,we will examine closely, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the following points. These points are the results of poor decisions made.
- Crybaby Proposal
- Spiritual Leadership Response
- God’s Decision – Part 1
- God’s Decision – Part 2
- Carcasses And Vultures
– excerpts from Out Of Gas? Never With Jesus by Bob Bennett from http://www.LifeUnderGrace.com