In Numbers Chapter 14, an entire generation fails the test of faith and will not see the Promised Land. After the people had heard the report from the twelve men who had explored Canaan, the people were afraid, discouraged and they began complaining against Moses and Aaron.
The People Rebel
Then all the congregation [of Israel] raised their voices and cried out, and the people wept that night. ~ Numbers 14:1 (AMP)
Verse 1 sums it all up well: the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. That is the elders and leaders started yelling and screaming and bickering, and the people seeing what was happening, broke down into one giant panic attack. The community of Israel was united against Moses and Aaron and therefore against God.
Note to the wise: you can’t be against God’s mediator on the one hand and on the other say you’re for God.
Then the blasphemy that was in their hearts come pouring out of their mouths: “if ONLY we had stayed in Egypt.”
Translation: we prefer slavery to our former evil taskmasters than redemption from the Lord because the slavery was more comfortable, familiar and did seem to have its perks.
Why God, they ask, did you bring us here to be slaughtered by the Canaanites? Do you HATE us?
Now as much as we all might have a tendency to listen to this and shake our heads side to side in disgust at these Israelites, have we not all done the same thing from time to time in our walk with the Lord? Have we not all during a challenging moment, looked up and said, “why God”? Why are you doing this to me?
And the elders’ solution to the problem is what one might expect: “let’s appoint a DIFFERENT leader and go back to Egypt.” Let’s go back to slavery and captivity. At least we ate better. At least we had houses to live in, and we weren’t required to fight and put our lives at risk.
Aren’t humans funny creatures? How quickly we forget the pain and anguish of our past lives, our lives before God, and we will go back for more even after we’ve escaped it for a time.
This truth is so prevalent among men that there are Proverbs written to warn and remind us about our self-destructive human tendencies.
Here is a short story by Tom Bradford.
Many years ago when I married my wife she owned a beautiful house in California. And when a friend of hers heard that she would be moving out of that house, he asked if she would consider renting it to him so it could be used as a home for abused girls and so it was for over 15 years.
Scores of abused girls and many run-a-ways picked up by the local police, many taken from their abusive parents by social services, lived there for that time.
And in some of our conversations with our friend and overseer of this program over the years, he told us of his greatest disappointment and frustration. That several of these girls, many of whom had permanent injuries and scars from the abuse, would run away from this safe house, and an opportunity for a better life, to go back to the abusive environment.
He said it was always to go back to what they knew and to what was familiar. It was to shun what was new and better for what was familiar and comfortable.
And this is what we do, as Believers, when we accept our Salvation, and then go right on living as though it never happened. God brought us up to the promised land, and then we got cold feet and ran right back to the world.
And, usually, we think we’re taking God with us when we choose to go back to the world. But is that the case? We’ll see the answer to that question, the next time we meet.