What similarities do you see in Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness and God’s people living just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus? (See 1 Corinthians 10:1-11.)
Throughout history, God’s people have been roaming in the wilderness as they seek the Promised Land. This wilderness has many faces. Right now, it looks like an endless media barrage, the constant beeps of incoming messages, and the deep roar of interminable entertainment. It tries to sell us pornography as love and materialism as the answer to our problems. If we just could be a bit fitter, a bit younger, a bit more affluent, a bit sexier — that would take care of all our problems.
Like the Israelites, we are restless in our search for peace, and so often we look for it in the wrong places.
How did the Israelites react to God’s judgment in Numbers 14:39-45?
Israel’s reaction to the divine judgment is typical. “We have sinned,” they said. “We will go up to the place which the LORD has promised” (Numbers 14:40).
Half-hearted commitment is like a poorly administered vaccination — it doesn’t work. Today, doctors recommend a Hepatitis B vaccination right after birth within the first 24 hours of life. That’s a good beginning. However, following that first shot, if there are not two or three booster vaccinations administered at the right time and in the right doses, then there is no protection against Hepatitis B whatsoever.
Israel’s rebellious turnaround, reported in the last verses of Numbers 14, results in death and disappointment as the Israelites now refuse to accept God’s new directions and stubbornly launch an attack without the ark of the covenant or Moses’ leadership.
Presumption is costly; presumption leads to death. Very often, presumption is powered by fear. Because we are afraid of something, we make decisions that we later regret.
|Think about a time you acted on faith and a time you acted on presumption. What was the crucial difference?|