Making Matters Worse
Merciful Lord, forgive any sin that comes between us and prepare me to be with You and hear Your Word.
Read NUMBERS 14:36-45
 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it-  these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.  Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.  When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly.  Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the LORD promised. Surely we have sinned!”  But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? This will not succeed!  Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies,  for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.”  Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp.  Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat further mistake did the Israelites make now?
Yesterday, we read of the severe consequences suffered as a result of the faithlessness and rebellion of the Israelites—forty years of wandering in the desert until that entire generation had died. As for those explorers who let their pessimism turn into rebellion against God, they died even sooner (37). Now, the initial sin of rebellion was compounded by the sin of presumption. They thought that they could make everything right themselves (40-43). Despite the fact that God had told them they were to return to the desert and would not enter the promised land (20-35), they decided to go into the land and take possession of it themselves (40). They compounded their earlier disobedience with a further one. In the process they walked right away from God’s presence into the inevitable consequences (44,45). And that was that.The Israelites didn’t corner the market in presumption, however. We can be equally vulnerable to it. Does our awareness of the grace of God make us more susceptible to this? We know that God has promised to forgive (1 John 1:9). But knowing the gospel brings responsibility, too (Heb. 2:1).
Might you be presuming on God’s mercy? Remember that his purpose is not to condemn but to save (John 3:17).
Lord, You are a greatly merciful God and I praise You. May I never presume to take it for granted.
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