Faith vs Faithlessness

February 19, 2020 at 11:17 AM Leave a comment

There are so many chapters in the Bible that highlight the concepts of faith and faithlessness, it’s difficult to pick one favorite. However, many think of Hebrews  11 because that chapter highlights the numerous people who were faithful to God and their acts of faithfulness were counted as righteousness.

But I want to take a look back at Scripture when Moses was alive. I cannot believe how much Moses had to put up with from those who grumbled and complained in the nation of Israel. Most of us would’ve given up long before it got to that point, but God chose the right man in Moses because of his inherent humility. God knew He could use Moses and fill him with what he might be missing to lead God’s chosen people out of Egypt to the Promised Land.

God saw in Moses a deep willingness to submit to Him and that was the number one priority God needed in the person who would take the lead over this God-created nation. In fact, Moses’ fears of his own shortcomings prompted him to fall on his knees before God on many occasions. It was an impressive, albeit fearful endeavor for Moses, one that caused him to fall on his face before God on numerous occasions because Moses had nowhere else to turn. Does that ever happen to you? If you’re serious in your relationship with God, I’m betting it does. It has happened to me several times where either circumstances or I have painted myself into a corner. It was only then that I was forced to rely fully on God and His will to set things right. He always came through even when it was my mistake that created the situation.

Let’s take a look at Numbers 14. The ESV Bible heads this chapter with the words, “The People Rebel.” Here, we read the account of the nation of Israel having finally gotten to the border of the Promised Land that God had, years before, promised to Abraham’s seed. Well over 400 years later, Abraham’s descendants finally made it to the cusp of the land that they should have been ready to go in and take.

Critics of the Bible and Israel say that the nation of Israel was a warmongering nation, going where they should not have gone. Today, these same critics refer to Israel as a “terrorist” nation. Nearly the entire UN stands opposed to Israel. Only the USA and one or two other nations tend to respect and even side with Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists.

But what these critics conveniently forget is that it was God who chose/created Israel for a number of purposes. First, they were chosen to bring forth the Messiah to the Jews and the Savior of the Gentiles. This of course was fulfilled in Jesus as it is through Him that salvation is available to anyone who asks in faith.

Second, Israel was created to be God’s arm of judgment against those nations whose “cup of sin” was full. The Canaanites, the Amalekites, and others were living in the Promised Land but they were barbarians. They sacrificed their children to Moloch and other gods. They polluted the Land with their sin, hate, anger, and murdering rampages. These people were a law unto themselves, inviting demons (literally seen in their worship of “goat” statues), into this realm through enchantments and worship.

God’s patience had run out, though He had given them plenty of chances to turn from evil. They refused. So, God, instead of continuing to reach out His arms to them figuratively speaking, raised His arms in a war-like gesture intending to eradicate them from the face of the earth and He had chosen to use Israel to accomplish that task. We have talked about this before when we discussed Daniel 2 and the way one nation dominated another, but then that nation was eventually dominated and absorbed by another (Times of the Gentiles). This is what God does. He will use nations to overcome other, more evil nations and then use another nation to overcome that one, when their cup of sin had filled up to overflowing. This is one of the ways God keeps a check on evil so that it cannot become as evil as it will be during the coming Tribulation period. His intention was to use Israel exclusively, but Israel would not consistently comply, therefore, God had to bring judgment to Israel as well.

In Numbers 14, as the people have reached the border of the Promised Land, Moses had chosen to send 12 spies (one from each tribe; Numbers 13), into the Land to be possessed, to check it out and bring back a report. The 12 spies went secretly into the Land and spent 40 days doing reconnaissance work. They brought back a huge cluster of grapes that was so big, it had to be draped over a pole and carried by two people. The grapes in that area of the world are similar in size to plums and grape clusters can weigh up to 12 pounds or more. It was simply easier to carry them on a pole rather than with one person only.

So, as the spies gave their report, 10 of them only saw the down side. The people were large and made the people of Israel look like grasshoppers. This is a likely exaggeration because the 10 spies wanted to sell their bad news. I’m sure the Amalekites were larger in stature but they were not 30 feet tall.

Of course, the people heard this report and immediately began grumbling. Any faith they may have had flew out the window.

1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? (Numbers 14:1-3 ESV)

It’s maybe too easy for us to look at this and condemn these people. We weren’t there to know exactly what they saw and experienced. However, it should also be reminded that they constantly saw God save them in one circumstance after another and God even reminds Moses of this. Yet in spite of the many times God moved on behalf of Israel, they chose not to remember these things, either because they were forgetful or because they simply didn’t want to remember them. What is our excuse when/if this happens? Are we quick to forget God’s goodness towards us? These are things that we should be mindful of in our prayers to God daily. How often does God provide for you and I and how often do we forget that provision? As Paul would say, Brothers, this out not to be.

Because the people grumbled, God comes to Moses in anger (not at Moses). God says, that He’s had it and will destroy the entire nation and make a new one from Moses (v. 12). Interestingly enough, Moses actually steps in for the people here, reminding God about what Egypt and other nations would say if God did this.

Now God did not need to be reminded and He already knew what Moses would say to Him. God wanted Moses to say it so that it would become part of the record and Moses would be able to remember it always. In fact, this is another way that Moses is a “type” of Savior for the nation of Israel. Just as Moses pleaded the case for Israel, Jesus pleads our case as well. We deserve exactly what God wanted to do to the nation of Israel, yet Moses stood in for them and Jesus stands in for us.

The people exercised a complete lack of faith in God’s ability to save them, except for two spies: Caleb and Joshua. These brave men tried to convince the entire nation to not listen to the negativity and lies of the 10 spies. The people refused to listen to them and continued complaining, moaning and groaning.

Starting with Numbers 14:13, Moses intercedes for the people and God relents. This is exactly what Jesus did/does for us. God relented from His righteous anger toward us and those of us who are saved are so because of the fact that God has imputed His Son’s righteousness to our account in response to our faith in Him.

Because Moses interceded for the people, God did not destroy all of Israel. He actually said He “pardoned” them (v. 20). However, look closely because decisions have consequences! Even though God pardoned Israel, He still followed through with judgment. The 10 spies died of a plague and all the men 20 years old and up died in the wilderness just as they had told Moses it would have been better for them to have done (Numbers 14:1-4).

There are consequences to our faith and our faithfulness. If we are faithful to God in all situations, He will reward our faithfulness. If we are unfaithful, we will reap what we sow.

Imagine you’re a Christian, but you start falling away from God in small increments. Eventually, you stop going to church and/or meeting with other Christians. You go it alone. You stop reading His Word, you stop praying, you may even start hanging out with the wrong people who will make you feel good by patting you on the back when you join in with their debauchery.

Let’s say you fall so far away that you end up mixing with people bent on mischief and one day, you find yourself on the other side of the law, arrested for something you actually knew was wrong. Have you lost your salvation? Not if you are an authentic Christian.

Will God get you out of the mess you have created for yourself? Possibly, but maybe not. Will He forgive you if you repent and turn back to Him? Absolutely, but by no means is He obligated to change the outcome of your decisions!

The people of Israel lost their faith in God’s ability to lead and save them. They said they’d rather die in the wilderness so God gave them their desire. Did He pardon them? Yes, the Bible says He did, meaning He did not hold that sin against them. But the consequences were theirs to bear.

Some Israelites even thought that after Moses scolded them, they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go into the Land and take on the people living there. Moses tried to stop them telling them God was not with them, but they were too headstrong and decided that their act was an act of “faith” and God would be pleased. Nope. They were destroyed by the Canaanites and Amalekites because God did not go ahead of them to protect them. Again, they reaped what they sowed.

There are some phenomenal lessons here. First, we must stay in step with God. We cannot run ahead or lag behind. Second, we must obey God in all things, whether we think we can or want to. Third, we must practice humility because that is the only thing that allows us to draw close to Him where He will able to lead us successfully.

True humility is not beating ourselves up. It is not condemning ourselves. It is recognizing our limits and how much we need to rely and depend upon God. When He opens a door, we need to boldly walk through it knowing that He will provide. If we balk or hesitate, we will lose faith just as Peter lost faith and began to sink in the water upon which he had just been walking (Matthew 14).

Faith is difficult to live by because of our sinful natures. Only being in His Word daily and being in constant communication with God can we even begin to approach God and remain in His light even as He is in the Light.

Christian, do whatever it takes to cast unfaithful away from you.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , .

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