Have you ever talked yourself out of what you knew was God’s will?
Have you ever come up with enough reasoned your way out of obedience?
The Israelites did. 40 years in the desert was the result. Instead of the Promised Land they got waste land. Instead of settling they continued wandering. Instead of milk & honey they got mucho manna.
Beware thinking you are smarter than God.
They had their reasons.
Just like we have our reasons.
But not all their reasons were accurate.
Just like ours.
Let’s look into the back story of Numbers 13 & 14 to find out their five types of reasons.
- Real reasons. The facts. The truth. Numbers 13:28 records what the spies found in the land - the land God had promised to give them, the land God said that He would assist them to drive out all the peoples there. There facts: the people were powerful; the cities were large & fortified; Anakites - the descendants of giants were among the people there. These facts led to fear. Fear led to a twisting & exaggerating the facts. Admit it. You & I do it too. The facts seem overwhelming & fear beats a retreat.
- Apparent reasons. Believed to be true. Number 13:31 has scouts reporting “they are stronger than we are.” I’d agree they may have appeared stronger. But you know the cliche about appearances. Think about the amazing, miraculous things these folks had witnessed - the plagues in Egypt, fire by day & a cloud by night, & manna from heaven to name only a few. These folks should have had all the faith in the world. Should have. Just like those of us who have seen God’s mighty hand before & forget it at each new challenge.
- Exaggerated reasons. Plain falsehood. Untrue. In Numbers 13:32 the faithless fibbers go on to say “All the people we saw there are of great size.” Oh, really? Didn’t you just tell us that there was only one group - the Anakites - that were? You named five other normal size peoples (13:29), but now you are stretching the truth a bit to say they are of gigantic proportions too? Human nature hasn’t changed in 3000+ years. They did what we do. Shade the meaning. Exaggerate the truth. Stretch it a little. All to stay safe or save face or keep comfortable.
- Perceived reasons. Accepted as truth. But how would you really know with no confirmation. The faithless spies reported in Number 13:33, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Are you joking? As if you bunch of cowards even asked them, “Do we look like grasshoppers to you?” You can not truly know another’s perception of reality. But we still guess at it & label ourselves & allow such untruth to masquerade as reality even today, don’t we?
- Imagined reasons. Might be true - without God. Numbers 14:3 contains the realistic fear of the people that their women & children would be captured & enslaved. Realistic without the amazing, miraculous power of Almighty God on their side. The God who promised. The God who provided. The God who they had seen do so many mighty works. Yet, even now, we tend to doubt God’s calling when His will seems too big, too far, too hard.
Armed with their reasons - some real, but most not - they were “unwilling to go up & rebelled” against God’s will (Deuteronomy 1:26). And God, merciful as He had been, judged them. They got nearly four more decades of laps around the wilderness mountain until the entire faithless generation had passed away. Of that rebellious generation, only the faithful Joshua & Caleb entered into the Promised Land.
Do you ever feel as if you are wandering in the wilderness?
Do you know of any willful sin in your life?
God in His sovereignty either causes or allows every circumstance of our lives to to draw us to & conform us to the image of Christ. Seek His will. Make sure you are not living in rebellion. Even a reasonable rebellion.