Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Rebellion

Moses has been on my mind lately.  Maybe because I just finished teaching about him in children's church.  I love that story!  It tells so many stories within that one story.  You can glean things such as salvation (Moses in the basket), the impetuosity of youth (Moses killing an Egyptian), hearing God (the burning bush), obedience (going to Pharoah), the miraculous (parting of the Red Sea), God's provision (the manna and the quail).  But you also see basic human nature.  I'd say "at it's finest," but maybe it's really "at it's worst."
You know the story.  God led the Israelites out of Egypt (where they'd been slaves) and led them to a land He'd promised them.  From then on, it was called The Promised Land.  God told them it was a land flowing with milk and honey---and it was theirs.  He even promised to give them their enemies--He'd drive them out of the land.  They'd seen God's mighty hand in bringing them to the border of the Promised Land.  He'd performed miracle after miracle on their behalf.  And then He told Moses to send 12 spies into the land who would bring back a report.  God wanted each tribe represented in this spying effort.  So Moses chose 12 leaders whom he trusted to go into the land and to bring back a report of what was in the land--the fruit, the people, the cities.  You can read the whole story here.
Well, the spies came back.  It took two men to carry one cluster of grapes between them!  The land was lush, beautiful and provisional.  But...there were giants in the land.  That's all ten of those spies could concentrate on---their fear.   Caleb stood up and got everyone's attention and told them, "Let us go up at once and possess it; we are well able to conquer it."  But the 10 disagreed.  And their fear spread.  It spread to the point that the people cried out with a loud voice and wept all that night.  Then they began grumbling.  And then they began accusing their leaders.
I think it's beneficial to back up just a minute and remember who had told them they were to go into the land.  God did.  And God gave Moses the plan---choose 12 men to go in and spy out the land.  I believe God had in mind that those 12 men were to come back and give the same report Caleb did give---the land is good, the men are big, but God is bigger---and we can take it! 
You know the rest of the story.  A great rebellion took place.  Not aimed against the leadership---but against God.  The people refused to leave where they were.  They said, "Would that we had died in Egypt! Or that we had died in this wilderness!"  So God said, "Ok."  And that's what He gave them.  Death in the wilderness.  He knew the rebellion was against Him.  Listen to what He told Moses:  "And the Lord said to Moses, How long will this people provoke (spurn, despise) Me? And how long will it be before they believe Me [trusting in, relying on, clinging to Me], for all the signs which I have performed among them?"
As I've thought on this story, I've come to realize God never calls us to an easy place.  There's always risk involved.  It wouldn't be called trust if there wasn't risk involved!  Jesus was our example--and he was quite the risk-taker.  He didn't train his disciples to stay in their comfort zone, did he?  His message has always been to GO. 
I haven't always been obedient.  I've often been rebellious.  There's always a choice involved, isn't there?  Am I going to submit to God and obey...or rebel?
I want to be like Caleb and say, "Let us go up at once and possess it; we are well able to conquer it."

1 comment:

Brenda said...

It is hard to go to an unfamiliar place, but it's so worth it when you see what God has in store for you there. Sometimes you don't see it till you're there, though! Love your words my friend!

Brenda Coffman