I know I have been sharing often of the journey of the Israelites from their exodus from Egypt to the entrance into the Promised Land. It seems each time I read Scriptures relating to this journey, I see something new. It has always been there, of course, but it is as if I am seeing with fresh eyes.
I re-read Numbers 13-14 which records the telling of the 12 spies going up to Kadesh-Barnea (Numbers 13:1-2). They were comparable to scouts or an advance team. I have written of this Scripture previously in recent weeks so I won’t go into details again but if you want to read it in its entirety see Numbers 13 – 14. Let me just summarize:
1. The Lord commands and Moses sends 12 spies into Kadesh-Barnea. (Numbers 13:1-2)
2. Twelve men – one leader from each tribe – spied out the land for 40 days.
3. They found fertile land and much abundance. (Numbers 13:27)
4. They also found “giants” in the land (Numbers 13:28-29)
5. They returned and gave a report to Moses and the people. Ten spoke with fear of the giants and inhabitants of the land. (Numbers 13:31-33) Two spoke with faith, assured that God would keep His word to deliver the land into their hands. (Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9)
6. The Israelites, influenced by the 10, refused to go. (Numbers 14:3-4)
7. The Lord was angered by their rebellion and handed down a death sentence. “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.” Numbers 14:29 They were also to wander in the wilderness 40 years (one year for each day they spied out the land).
8. The ten men that brought back an evil report were struck down by plague before the Lord. (Numbers 14:36-37)
When Moses told these things to the people they mourned. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!” Numbers 14:40
On second thought, it was when they saw the consequences of their rebellion that they decided to go to the top of the mountain and admit their sin. “And Moses said, ‘Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.’” Numbers 14:41-43 and although Moses warned them they went anyway and suffered defeat. “Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.” Numbers 14:45
The Lord God is long-suffering but there comes a time when He allows the consequences of our actions to bear down on us. Is there any area of your life where you assume that since God has not yet brought consequences that He will never bring consequences?
Let us not be so foolish as to think that God will turn a blind eye to our on-going sin. Sometimes, if we wait too long, the consequences of our sins are permanent. We will be forgiven but the consequences remain. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean consequences are removed.
Let’s take a lesson from our ancestors and repent and not presume upon the mercy and long-suffering of God.
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!