Israelite Homecoming II is about to begin. Second generation Israel is about to enter the land the Lord had promised to their ancestors who had failed Him and therefore had been denied entrance. But before the second generation of claimants would be allowed to cross the Jordan River, Moses would take the time to remind them of the Lord’s instructions to their parents and grandparents 40 years earlier. To those three million or so Israelites he (Moses) had said: “Behold, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up and possess it.” He had told them not to fear what lay ahead of them, nor to be discouraged when they saw the people and the cities they would have to conquer. Following those instructions, the Lord had told them to enter the land immediately. It was at that point that they made their first blunder–they found fault with God’s plan. Their second mistake was to come up with a new and improved plan. God had tested their faith upon bringing them out of Egypt. Once again He was testing their faith. Once again they failed the test by allowing Satan to fill their hearts with fear and pride. Satan uses fear to convince man to reject God’s Word and pride to make him feel good about it. Such was the case with ancient Israel. The ruse is as old as man himself, as the episode in the Garden of Eden reveals. Nothing has changed. The combination of fear and pride enables modern man to feel good about editing God’s Holy Words so that they “make sense” to his superior mind. I recently had an experience that perfectly exemplifies this most effective of Satan’s tactics.
I had become acquainted with an elderly lady who, along with her late husband, had for many years been Bible study leaders in their denomination. They would travel from church to church holding Bible studies, seminars, conferences, etc. They also held Bible studies in their home for women in their community. As we talked I began to show her what God actually said in His Word. Needless to say, it did not go well. As I continued to reveal God’s Truth to her she continued to reject it and to resent me for exposing her to it. At one point, which happened to be our final discussion, she said: “I just can’t wrap my mind around that (passage).” This lady refused to believe God if what He had written did not “make sense” to her logic-dominated, church-indoctrinated mind. Ironically, God had made the very mind she was using to deny the very Truth He was trying to place inside it. I did the best I could to penetrate her protective layer of religion. Sadly, I failed to put a dent in the shield with which Satan had surrounded this pillar of the church. I can only imagine how Jesus felt after having preached to, fed, healed and delivered thousands, then to have only a 120 or so believe what He said.
To Moses’ credit, he admitted to this current batch of Israelites that he, too had been duped into doubting God, telling them that their ancestors’ plan had “… pleased me well.” Notice that he did not say their plan pleased the Lord. This was Moses’ first blunder, and a costly one it would turn out to be. Instead of ordering them to obey God, he allowed them to do what they wanted to do, going so far as to formulate a plan which would help them do it. As this episode shows, the Lord is very specific concerning who, what, when, how, etc. It also proves that if we insist on going our own disastrous way He will allow us to do so, even helping us along our journey. The Scriptures reveal that if we are intent on committing spiritual suicide, the Lord will provide the tree, the rope and the stool. I have the rope burns to prove it. When I speak or write about rebellion against the Lord and suffering the consequences I speak from experience as well as from the Scriptures. Through those experiences I have learned that the Scriptures are true every time and at all times. As Jesus said to the Father in John 17:17: “THY WORD IS TRUTH.” The following rule holds true at all times and in all circumstances: Believe and obey God’s Words and be rewarded; doubt and disobey them and be cursed. For proof of this Truth study Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26 and the entire New Testament. L.J.