Thursday, February 17, 2011

God Save Us From Ourselves

I ranted pretty hard against ancient Israel yesterday.  I want to switch gears a bit today.  Reading through the fallout of Israel's decision to not trust God, I can't help but be struck by the tragedy of their decision.  The ten spies who refused to trust in God's ability to fulfill his promise all die, which would have impacted their families, clans, and tribes.  An entire generation of Israel would die in the wilderness, in unmarked graves, forgotten by history.  Israel would be forced to wander, knowing that each year they wandered would correspond to one day spent doing reconnaissance in the land they were supposed to inhabit, forty years for forty days.  And when the reality of what their stubborn hearts had cost them set in, I think they truly tried to make it right.  They prepared for battle and set off to take the Promised Land...except they still didn't quite understand.  It was God who had given them everything they had and everything they ever would have.  Their attempt to fight for themselves was too little too late.  By turning their backs on God they got exactly what they expected to get, a crushing defeat on the field of battle.

Why is it that the blinders are only removed after the consequences of our prolonged behavior fully take effect?  My heart breaks for the people and churches who cause their own heart aches, knowing full well that I am no different.  When will we ever learn to trust God up front and realize that because God has always provided for us in the past, we can trust him to provide for us now?  Instead, we complain and grumble and rebel, and then find ourselves living the self-fulling prophecy of wilderness wandering.  The problems we have in our lives and our churches aren't the fault of God.  We cause them all by ourselves, and the truly frightening thing about this is that sometimes we can put ourselves in a position where no matter what we do, it's too little too late.  And again, this is not God refusing to show mercy or compassion.  Israel did inherit the land God promised to give them, but the first generation of Israelites had hardened themselves, and hurt themselves, so much that they would never see it.  They couldn't.  They wouldn't have been able to live and thrive there anyway.  I pray God keeps us and our churches from doing the same.

Stopping point: Numbers 15

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