How to Appeal to God When Facing the Consequences of Sin
Message by: Dr. Paul Kingsbury
God spoke to and through Moses, using him to make a written history of the nation of Israel. The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number, and Deuteronomy were all written by Moses. These five books memorialize Israel’s path to freedom and the journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. In the book of Numbers, the Hebrew people made it to the Promised Land but did not have the courage to obtain what God had rightfully intended for them.
The Israelites spent four hundred years in the land of Egypt, where they went from honored guests to the bondage of slavery. God had a plan and used the faith of one man who gave up the riches of Egypt to be loyal to his Hebrew roots. Time and time again, God showed Himself mighty on the Israelites behalf through signs and wonders. He freed them from the most powerful empire on earth at the time and led a nation of three million people into the wilderness while taking care of all their physical needs during this journey of redemption.
They arrived in the Promised Land to find that the current inhabitants were fearsome giants, who had established nations that would be very difficult to conquer. Moses wisely sent out twelve spies into the land to report on the challenges they would be facing. One common quote states, “Ten said no and two said go!” The discouraged ten basically said, “There is no way we can defeat these enemies! We are like ants in their sight!”
The two spies brave enough to be in support of taking back the Promised Land were Joshua and Caleb. These are the only men of the twelve that most people remember today. They said, in Numbers 14:8, “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.” Joshua and Caleb were men of faith who remembered not only the promises of God, but all the miraculous things that God did for Israel in the past.
The people of Israel responded with negative emotions. They lifted up their voices and the people mourned all night. Then after hearing the encouraging side of the argument, they shouted for Joshua and Caleb to be stoned. When God calls a congregation to step out in faith, there will always be hesitation among those with little or no faith in God.
When people respond to God’s call to live by faith, we find these common reactions when people lack faith or are crippled by fear. We are first attacked by negative emotions as the Hebrew people were. Sometimes people allow their emotions to drive them to forget to look to God as the Provider and Leader of their life. It is easy to begin to murmur and complain against the people trying to challenge and encourage us to do the right thing. The Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying they would have rather died in Egypt or the wilderness than face these daunting opponents. They even went so far as to consider replacing Moses and going back to Egypt.
Many Christians today want a life that they can manage in their own strength. However, that lifestyle brings no glory to God and does not grow our faith. God has a land that flows with milk and honey waiting for all of us, but we must conquer the giants in our way. The Promised Land was so abundant that it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes. God wants to bless us abundantly beyond what we can think or imagine. But, we must step out in faith and take hold of the promises of God, and believe that He will do what we cannot.
It’s amazing how rapidly we forget how bad life was without Christ. How foolish our thoughts can be when we are filled with fear. We are too quick to run back to the bondage we once were in, to which we have become “numb”. When our faith is weak, we easily become critical and begin to silence the voices of biblical reason. Do not be offended by the Word of God or critical of those preaching it. God wants to build your faith, so embrace the challenges and believe that God will pull you through them.
God blesses us when we have the right attitude and make the right choices, but he is offended when we do not. After seeing the attitude of the people of God who responded negatively to Moses, God stated “How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere (before) they believe me.” After all the signs and miracles God did for these people they still lacked faith and were fearful. We too often forget all the blessings in our life when we face problems that seem unconquerable.
Time and time again, God proved His reliability to the Hebrew nation. Therefore God declared, “I will smite them with pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.” When we choose not to listen to God, we should expect unnecessary trouble. God is just and has the full intention of fulfilling all of His promises. However, God did spare the nation of Israel and showed them mercy.
God promised in Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned to hell and all nations that forget God.” This passage points out that the nation that knows God, like Israel, will face great judgment when they turn away from God, and the same principle applies to America. In Proverbs, it says that God chastens those He loves and scourges His children. Psalms 33:12 states the opposite, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: and the people who He hath chosen for his own inheritance.” We have seen the evidence of this promise in our country over its 240 year history.
Despite the Consequences of Sin, God still has Mercy
God chose to spare the nation of Israel despite their lack of faith and disloyalty to God’s chosen leader Moses. Is this not relevant to our country today in 2016? Are we not as a sovereign nation uniquely in our history, openly dependent upon God as our Creator and the Bible as our guide? A majority, if not all of our founding fathers, were members of Bible preaching churches and attended services weekly.
It has only been within my lifetime that prayer and Bible reading were not part of the curriculum in our public schools. God’s hand print is all over our federal and state capitols. James Madison said, “Our founding fathers accomplished a revolution, which has no parallel in the annals (records) of human history. They reared the fabrics of a government, which has no model on the face of the globe.” That statement is by a man who knew the history of the world and recognized the obvious hand of God in the United States of America.
Facing the Consequences of Sin
The communication between God and Moses brought mercy upon Israel, but there were still consequences. No person of the age of accountability set foot in the Promised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb. The ten fearful spies died in the pestilence. God was still good and took care of them during their endless cycle of wandering in the wilderness.
God showed mercy because of men of faith like Caleb, Joshua, and Moses. We need men of that caliber to have faith for God to do the same for America. We need people that will pray to God as Moses did. Israel was rescued by the prayer of one man. Do not think that you are irrelevant!
Moses used a fascinating argument with God in Number 14:13-19, to defend the Israelites. He reminds God that they are His people and other nations know of how great and mighty is their God. He then reminds God of what the other nations will think and say when they see that God has abandoned his own people. God has raised America up to be the greatest nation on the earth and he certainly can sustain us if we stand up and prove ourselves faithful in prayer for our nation. If Sodom and Gomorrah had ten righteous men, then God would not have destroyed that city. I see our country today with many Christ-honoring people.
We need to do everything we can to preserve our country. We must look to the future considering what kind of a land we want our children and grandchildren to live in. God is jealous of His reputation! He wants everyone to know that he is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.
Remember the three Hebrew men faced a fiery furnace and said, “Our God will deliver us.” And that is exactly what God did! Will you pray that God will deliver this nation and make you a person of great faith? Join with me today in prayer pleading on the behalf of our country.