This week Michael writes how Israel sent spies into the Promised Land to see if they would be able to enter into the land. Only two of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb brought back a favorable report. The other ten spies gave a bad report that Israel would not be able to conquer the land. According to Numbers 14 the Children of Israel grumbled and complained that God had "called them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness." They wanted to appoint leaders to lead them back to Egypt. When Joshua and Caleb said that God would prevail if they went into Canaan to take the land, the people wanted to stone them.
Here is the story from Numbers 14:10-19 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” And Moses said to the Lord: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
The people were concerned with their own happiness. They were in pursuit of the blessing. Did Moses say, "your job, God, is to make the people happy?" What was Moses' plea to God on behalf of the people? Moses didn't argue whether the people should live or die for their rebellion and grumbling and complaining against God. Rather, Moses pleaded for the glory of God. When we seek the blessing instead of God's glory, do we deserve anything less than what the children of Israel deserved? Moses reminded God that he is slow to anger and exceeding in love. He also reminded God that he will not let Israel's injustice go unrequited. God is a righteous judge. Those who rebel against God will suffer the consequences unto the fourth generation.
The children of Israel subscribed to a "Humanistic" doctrine. They were in pursuit of the blessing instead of the Blessor. What makes something right or wrong according to "Humanism?" Humanists don't think that God gives the standard for right and wrong. Rather they think about the effects of their choices on others and the "right" or kindest course of action that will "do the least harm" according to the probable consequences of their actions. They say that "morality" is something that comes from within: affection, cooperation, and social instincts that are a "natural" part of community. For a "humanist" the ultimate "morality" comes from within ourselves and not from an external God. The Humanist philosophy could be embraced by most so-called Christians. What is the fallacy of this "humanistic" doctrine? Humanism is the religion of “the flesh” desires. Humanism says I must worship myself for I am the master of my own destiny, I am the captain of my soul. Humanism reiterates the devil's original lie, "I'm my own God ... I shall be as God, knowing good from evil."
The question is "do we deserve the Promised Land?" Do we deserve the promises of God? All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way. A Humanist's decision point is "what's the level of personal benefit?" If this is our decision criteria as Christians, then there is no difference between the actions of Christians and pagan unbelievers. In order to be resurrected, we must first die to the God of self. The heart of Christianity, as opposed to humanism, is the death of our selfish sin nature so that we can be alive unto him.
Let’s pause Michael’s message about “Glory to God” and continue on the next post.
In Christ, Brian