In Deuteronomy 1, Moses recounts the events of Numbers 13-14 with perspective. God’s promise had been, “See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession.” Moses had added, “Do not fear or be dismayed.” But instead of looking to God and believing His promise and obeying His word, Israel looked at the “greater and taller people” and “cities fortified up to heaven,” and rebelled. These troublemakers then spread their poison.
They murmured, they accused God of ‘hating them and planning their destruction.’ They blamed their brothers who’d spied out the land for ‘making their hearts melt.’ Their lot and misery were everyone’s fault but their own. Had this been today, they would have barraged social media with complaints and stirred a firestorm. Oh, how toxic is the sin of rebellion, how contagious murmuring and unbelief! Focusing on perceived threats and obstacles, instead of their God and His promises, poisoned their outlook and attitude; all they said and did was warped in unbelief and self.
The only remedy is as Moses patiently instructed: “The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did in Egypt and in the wilderness, where you have seen how he carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way until you came to this place. He went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you the way you should go.”
Self-centered living is easy. It is promoted all around us; we are constantly told what we deserve, what is too difficult, what is offensive. But it is pernicious. Christ-centered living is hard. It requires faith to take God at His word, time to give attention to His character and ways, and committed resolve to keep on when the way is tough. But it is freeing, fruitful, and victorious.
Lord, lift me above the fearful, murmuring, self-focused, unbelieving masses to be a Caleb, a Joshua, who is ready to take the good land You have offered.