CHANGE or THE PEOPLE REBEL
Updated: Jun 5, 2022
The whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night.
Numbers 14:1 NLT
Change does not come easy to me. Do you like change? Can you handle the myriad of change that comes with living life? Or, are you like me, and want to go back to Egypt (at least in some areas of life) because it's familiar, has known territory and customs?
Growing up in a home with a constant flow of change has made me weary and leery of change. Where some see – OPPORTUNITIES – I see the unknown and uncertainties. Not all the time and not for every change. One would think through the years embracing change becomes easier. I can attest that it is still difficult, but not as difficult as it used to be. I think because when I was younger I did not have a choice – now I have choices. But, honestly, those choices are more about my attitude rather than the actual decisions. Oh, the price of being an adult.
These Israelites in Numbers 14 had gone through a lot. Slavery. Plagues (some of them affected them directly). Rescue. Wilderness. Desert. Manna. Water from a rock. Promised Land. The twelve spies somewhat excited report of Canaan. Before their report was cold on their lips the nation wailed. They focused on Numbers 13:28 –
But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!
They forgot Numbers 13:1-2 –
Then the LORD now said to Moses, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving (emphasis mine) to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.”
The LORD had already promised this land – He was just giving them an opportunity to check it out. Take a gander. See it for themselves. He wasn’t having them try it on, take a sample, or buy it with a return policy. The God of the universe was giving them land. Canaan. Territory. These people were slaves before without anything to call their own. Now God was giving them a possession. An inheritance. He was not only making them His people, He was giving them a place to live out life with Him in the Promised Land.
This was an opportunity of grand proportions to start over. To live as God would have them live. They had seen wonders, miraculous signs, they were FREE, and God would be their God directing them, leading them, and keeping them as His people. He would tabernacle (live among) with them. Life would certainly be very and vastly different from Egypt and the desert.
But they did not like this part of the plan. It was unknown. Foreign. Outside of their comfort. However, to give them credit, they did obey through the being set free from Pharaoh – we can see that. They painted their lentils with blood so when the angel of death passed by they would not be struck dead. My guess is they were scared because they had just seen incredible wonders, power, miracles and displays of God’s might and they knew what He was capable of – including keeping His word.
So, why did they forget at this moment? Why did they draw a line in the sand, so to speak, and decide “nevermore”? Since I was not there, I can only speculate, but, I could imagine certain scenarios – tired. Fed up with living in the desert. Unsure. Fearful. Wanting to have a say in decisions. Etc.,...
Are you in this predicament? Have you been asked to trust one more time? Walk the desert for another round? Has God asked you to obey without knowing details, circumstances or direction? Are you on a 'as needed to know basis' with God?
Have you complained about your life, circumstances, future? Have you decided to take matters into your seemingly capable hands when in reality as humans, we are sinners, weak and tend to make poor decisions without His wisdom?
Living this life we think about ourselves – how we live, breathe, talk, work, decide, our needs, comfort, and wants. The bottom line is….this life is about giving honor to God. He created us, He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. He is the Alpha and Omega. It is about Jesus. It always is about Jesus. Always.
God is Sovereign. At times He deems change to be necessary for our growth and our good. At times He allows events in our lives to mold and shape us and He desires that we comply, obey, and get this – with a good attitude. I fail miserably at times, if I am honest. Am I alone in this?
When we don’t obey it is called rebellion. Oh, society doesn’t call it this. We like to sugar coat it. Freedom. Independence. Non-compliance is flaunted and decorated, but God asks that we fall under His authority and with a soft supple heart, right attitude and desire to please Him.
If you read on in Numbers 14, you will notice Moses pleads with God, calling on His character. And, “I will pardon them as you have requested,” (verse 20) with Moses being the you. God hears our prayers. He hears our pleading. And because of Moses’s interceding, God changed the course of His actions. Instead of the people being disowned and destroyed (verse 12), God would not let the current generation enter into the Promised Land – they would drop dead in the wilderness. Their children would wander 40 years in the desert.
“Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years – a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have Me for an enemy (emphasis mine). “I, the LORD have spoken!” Numbers 14:34-35a
Rebellion has dire consequences. Resistance to God and His will sets us up on a course that we really don’t want to be on. Change can be a good thing to keep us in the will of God and out of rebellion.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to rebel against God, nor be counted as His enemy. That frightens me. I know what it is like to not walk with Him (the first 17 years of my life) and I know what it is to have a relationship with Him. I choose the latter.
LORD God, I do worship You as Sovereign and in complete control. I admit change is hard at times. Please forgive my stubbornness and my pride for wanting it my way when I want it. I do want to obey with a proper heart and attitude. I do want to honor and please You above all else. Lord, help me to be willing to accept all that You have for me - whether it's change or not. AMEN