The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

The Treachery of Unbelief

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 20, 2014

 

I will be drawing select verses from Numbers 14, but you can read the entire chapter here for context.

Moses had sent the leaders of each Israelite tribe to spy out the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give them. When they returned, ten of the leaders gave the Israelites “a bad report,” faithlessly proclaiming, “We are not able!” (Num. 13:32). Caleb, however, boldly proclaimed, “Let us go up at once….we are well able to overcome it.” (13:30).

How did the people respond to this mixed review? Did they recall to mind God’s promises and the way He had so gloriously delivered them from the Egyptians (Exo. 14)? Did they consider how God had fed them miraculously in the wilderness, and provided water and shelter from hot days and cold nights by His fire and cloud? –Hardly. Instead they complained against their leaders and declared their wish that they were already dead! (14:2) Then they voiced their suspicion that the Lord had victimized their families, and decided to choose a leader who would lead them back into the bondage of Egypt (14:3-4).

Joshua and Caleb, horrified at this mass apostasy, tore their clothes and exhorted the people with the following main points:

1. The land is an exceedingly good land! (14:7)

2. IF the Lord delights in us, He will give it to us. (14:8)

3. ONLY DO NOT REBEL AGAINST THE LORD…the Lord is with us…do not fear them. (14:9)

How did the congregation respond to this show of faith?

They decided to stone Joshua and Caleb with stones. (14:10)

Note that the progression of the people into full apostasy was as follows:

1. They believed a lying report rather than believing God’s Word, even though God did have servants (Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb) who were speaking the truth faithfully.

2. They neglected to bring to mind the glorious victories God had already given them, or to trust His promises.

3. They complained and claimed to be victims.

4. They chose a replacement leader who would lead them back into bondage.

Is this not the same progression we see in professing Christians today? While God does have a few servants who remind us that we are well able to overcome all things in Christ, the majority of voices proclaim that we are victims of a God who has sentenced us to a losing battle until the day we die. Most choose to ignore the promises in God’s Word, and hold fast to the lying report instead. They complain against the truth tellers (verbally stoning them, if not literally), choose replacement teachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3), and return like senseless animals to the vomit they had once left behind (2 Pet. 2:22).

While this may seem like average Christianity to those of us who have been pickled in this apostasy for years, it is really nothing short of treachery and rebellion against God.

God’s response to the unbelieving Israelites was to declare that the people had rejected Him (14:11). He was ready to disinherit them and start over with Moses. Moses pleaded for and acquired pardon for the people (19-20), but the Lord still firmly decided that none of those who rejected Him would ever see the land previously promised them (23). In fact, He said they had despised the land (31), just as Esau had despised his birthright before he lost it forever (Gen. 25:34). God called them an “evil congregation who are gathered together against Me” and proclaimed, “You shall know my rejection!” (34-35)

A few questions:

Are we victims of a God who has sentenced us to a string of losing battles, as so many say?

Does God smile upon our unbelief?

Is it a small thing to gather together against Him, to refuse to listen to His voice, and to reject Him?

Will He really reject those who reject Him?

Lest you think I am drawing a false parallel between the Old Testament Israelites and New Testament Christianity, the apostle Paul drew this exact parallel so as to warn all of us upon whom the ends of the ages have come (I Cor. 10:1-12). He very plainly warned us not to do as the Israelites did, lest we be destroyed in like manner as they were.

Who will inherit the land (salvation)?

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. (Num. 14:24)

Reject every false report, believe God’s Word and follow Him fully. In Christ, we are well able to overcome!

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3 Responses to “The Treachery of Unbelief”

  1. hoshiana said

    Heb 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you will hear His voice,
    Heb 3:8 do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness,
    Heb 3:9 when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.
    Heb 3:10 Therefore I was grieved with that generation and said, They always err in their heart, and they have not known My ways.
    Heb 3:11 So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest.”
    Heb 3:12 Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
    Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
    Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
    Heb 3:15 while it is said, “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”
    Heb 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke; however, not all who came out of Egypt by Moses.
    Heb 3:17 But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with those who had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?
    Heb 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter into His rest, but to those who did not believe?
    Heb 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

  2. hoshiana said

    Excellent post. The author of Hebrews expounds upon the Numbers’ scriptures. Note verses 17-19. God is defining sin as “unbelief.” Contrast that today with professing Christianity’s declaration of “we can’t stop sinning.” The scripture says, therefore, that they are in unbelief. And if they are in unbelief, they cannot enter into God’s rest, the land of promise, i.e., salvation.

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