Have you ever said something and then almost immediately wished that you had a time machine so that you could travel all the way back to 30 seconds ago and un say what you just said? Or how about this, have you ever done something and then mere minutes afterwards realize that your plan was not as fool proof as you thought (at the same time realizing that you are the fool in the above said statement) What is really brilliant, if you are anything like me, is that once one of these "precious moments" in our lives happens we tend to "fix" it by saying and or doing something, equally or even more so, foolish. Thus compounding the issue. When it comes to speaking this is often referred to as "foot in mouth disease."
Well Israel decided to put their foot in their mouth in today's reading and then proceeded in swallowing half their leg at the same time before realizing their error. Israel is finally on the doorstep of the highly anticipated "promised land". They are so close that they can almost smell it. Moses has men selected to spy out the land in order to determine what they are walking into only to have them return in fear and disbelief that God could possibly hand this land over to them. All the spies save for two.
They do their job so well that they convince the entire community that they are doomed if they follow the Moses into the promised land and that they instead are doomed to a life in the dessert. In their minds they are between a rock and a hard place and in their dispair they retreat once again into their disbelief in the God who has provided their every need for over two years in the desert, (food, water, guidance, shade, warmth, etc...) who decimated the most dominate kingdom on the face of the earth and displayed it in such a way as to create a name for Israel and their God among the nations, and who revealed himself and audibly spoke to them at Mt. Arrat.
Israel once again causes us to shake our heads in our own disbelief that they could possibly not listen to or even want to follow a God who has time and again shown himself to be all powerful and has not failed them. Yet they do. And sadly, so often we do to. But just as we when we put our foot in our mouth and then follow it up by swallowing our leg, Israel makes this mistake of listening to the bad reports from the spies and then follows up their disobedience with.... More disobedience.
God brings justice to the camp for their rebellious behavior and destroys the spies/leaders with a plague for spreading the bad report. He also tells them that he will go ahead and do the very thing that they assumed would be their fate. He tells them that they will wander in the desert for the next 40 yrs (1 year for every day the spies explored the land) and they will die in the desert with not one of that entire generation seeing the promised land. He tells them that it will be their children who will inherit the land instead.
Here is what is interesting to me. God promises them the land. They have known that it was promised for centuries. They witnessed the jaw dropping way that they were delivered from Egypt. They were provided for the entire time. They are on the doorstep to their inheritance and then say "Nope, we're doomed, we might as well go out into the desert and die." THEN... after God rebukes them and tells them , ok have it your way, I will give it to your children, they decide weellll... I guess God has done some big things the last couple of years, we are here on the doorstep, we can do it, lets go take it!
God says go, they stay. But they follow it up with God saying he will not go with them know and that they will have to pay for their rebellion with their lives in the desert and they all of a sudden decide, "yeah I think we can do this, lets go kill some giants."
But as we read this was a very regrettable decision. They went flying into battle after God and Moses told them that they were chasing a fools errand, and that they were destined for failure because God was not going to be going with them into battle. The Bible says, "In their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord's covenant moved from the camp.
In their presumption...
In what ways have we presumed in regards to God? I saw a clip on Youtube recently of the former president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. In it, he asked a question that struck me because of it's simplicity but at the same time its profoundness. It is a question that I think strikes at the heart of presumption and pride. It is a question that if answered correctly sets our life on the path that God has laid out before us. And it is the question that I want to leave you with tonight.
He said this: "The question that we must ask ourselves isn't whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God's side."
Who is in the drivers seat? Paul said to live is Christ to die is gain. When we come to God through Christ we lay down all of who we are and become a new creation. We become a follower of Christ, Not a leader of Christ.
- - - - - - - - - - - -Here is the Video I heard this quote from Reagan in: Ronald Reagan