Numbers 14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”
God is bigger than merely human emotions, and He also knows what will happen before it does, because He is outside of time, but here He expresses something He knows Moses can identify with. The failure to believe and obey is a perennial problem with mankind ever since the Garden of Eden. In Romans 1 Paul talks about how God has made Himself evident through nature, yet people pursue their own gods instead of their Creator. We see that problem all around us even today. To be perfectly honest, we’re guilty in that respect too! The story here goes on to Moses quoting God’s description of Himself back to Him (verse 18) and begging God to forgive the Israelites. It’s important to note that then God does forgive them, but they still have to endure the consequences of their unbelief. That is something a lot of people overlook about sin, grace, and forgiveness. Too many people teach, and/or believe in, a “greasy grace” that they think eliminates all consequences of sin, but it doesn’t work that way. God’s forgiveness does remove the penalty for our sin, since Jesus bore it for us on the cross, but it’s not a time machine transporting us to back before we ever committed the sin. Time is linear, and we can’t make something not have happened. What we can do, however, is release everything to God so that He can turn it around and use it for good in spite of our failures. (Romans 8:28) What is even better is when we believe God and walk in obedience in the first place! The vast majority of human misery is the direct result of sin, either our own or that of someone else. We will have to wait for Jesus to return to straighten it all out, but in the meantime, our best course is always to walk in the obedience that comes from faith.
Right now I see God working in the lives of people all around me, and I also see them being blind to what God is doing and getting anxious and frantic to a pathetic degree. All I can do is keep praying for them, speaking the truth in love. I remember plenty of times when I have been less than trusting and obedient! I am to keep remembering God’s character, even as Moses quoted it back to Him, and live accordingly. I too am tempted to anxiety and frustration very frequently, so I am to make the conscious decision to trust God and wait expectantly for Him, (Isaiah 40:28-31) because the consequences of that will always be far better than the consequences of unbelief.
Father, You know who came so strongly to mind as I read this just now. They don’t see that their unbelief is damaging not only to themselves but also to those around them. I ask Your grace and mercy for them, and also for those around them, so that the end result may be solid spiritual growth, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!