God doesn’t forget

Numbers 26-27, A census is taken. All the tribes of Israel [12] are counted. The key here is every man above the age of 20 years old. Numbers 14:26-35. In Numbers 13-14 we have the story of spies looking at the Promised Land. We have the “Church Business meeting” that Israel has and votes 10-2 not to go into the Promise Land. Instead of Faith, they lived by Fear of the giants and the fortified cities. God had already given them the Land, God promised Abram the land back in Genesis 17/22. Where ever the sole of your feet trod, I have already given it to you. After they reject entrance into the Land, they have a “parking lot business meeting” and decide they should go across. They are told, don’t do that because God is not with you. Point: When God opens the door and we fail to go in; don’t expect the door to remain open! Israel has a great loss of life and defeat, because God was not with them. They knew He was not because they had the “Pillar of fire and Cloud” showing them the way. Israel, like we do not listen when God speaks. If we hear, we do not act. This is disobedience and GOD does not bless disobedience. All that to say in the recording of the census of the tribes, we find 601,730 people we counted. These people would die in the Wilderness. I did some quick math; there are 14,600 days in 40 years, divided by 601,730 = 41 people died everyday for 40 years! The generation that got out of Egypt [chronic complainers and stubborn] didn’t get into the Promised Land. The last person to die of that generation [other that Caleb and Joshua] was Moses.

I work in Revitalization and have often asked the question “Will we have to lose a generation of Church people before GOD can do anything with us again?” It saddens me that we, today are very much like the nation of Israel, chronic complainers, always wanting what we want at the expense of the generations around us. There is a contingent of churches and church people who are always wanting to go back in time to “the good old days.” As I write this , our nation has been engaged in the effects of a global pandemic; my greatest fear is that we will have learned nothing from it and will seek to return to “normal” when it has subsided. We must remember that normal wasn’t working then, so it won’t work in return either.

While the rebellion and stiff-necked character of Israel is well documented in the Old Testament; it is also revealed in individuals. In this case Moses is the person. Look back with me at Numbers 20:8-12 where Moses was dealing with a recurring problem. The people didn’t have water and were grumbling against him. This is the second time that God provided the miracle of water from the ROCK. In Exodus 17:1-7 we find the first incident. Moses was told to “strike the ROCK at Horeb.” Mount Horeb is Mount Sinai – the Law giving place. Moses struck the ROCK and water came forth as God promised. But in this second event, Moses was told to “Speak to the ROCK.” In his anger with the people, Moses Struck the ROCK twice with the rod. Water came forth, but what a cost to Moses. In chapter 27:12 – 14, Moses is reminded that he also will die in the Wilderness because of his own disobedience of striking the ROCK  instead of speaking. You may say that was awful harsh for one disobedient act to not be allowed to enter into the Promised Land. I must remind all of us – one sin prevent us from God’s presence. It was one sin that caused Adam to fall. One sin that makes us guilty. Moses of all people, having been with God on the Mountain, heard God speak and shared the revealed Glory, He of all people should have remained obedient. Moses took out his frustration on the ROCK. This ROCK is Jesus! Jesus need only be struck once for the sins of mankind. To strike Jesus the ROCK is to re-crucify Him. Moses never entered into the Promise Land; the Abundant Life because of his sin. There are millions I believe that are still stuck in the Wilderness because of their continual sinning against God. The sin that Moses committed – vs. 14 “you did not treat Me Holy.”

Oh how we forfeit the blessing of God because of our sins! Joshua and Caleb with a new generation was allowed to enter in the Promise Land. Will our present day churches be so stubborn and continue in sin, which prevents them receiving the blessing of GOD? Will a generation of rebellious churches who want to go backwards instead of forward die before God can lead another generation in to His blessings?

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