I’ve started studying Deuteronomy lately. I like the old testament a lot and this is one of my favorite books. It does a good job of summarizing the first 4 books (which can get long and boring in places), and finishes up Moses’ story before he passes the torch to Joshua. I journaled a bit this morning on what I read today, and figured it was worth putting here.
Deuteronomy 1:41-46 Realizing what they had done, the Israelites tried to make it right. They got their weapons and went to the hill country where God had originally commanded them to go in order to take the land. Moses gave God’s warning that they should not go because God was not with them, but they didn’t listen. Because God was not with them, they were severely defeated.
The people of Israel seemed to want to make things right, but they still didn’t understand. God told them that they would not take this land because of their disbelief, and he meant it. Often we think we can take things into our own hands and fix them, but without God it doesn’t work. It seems to me that God gave them an opportunity and when they failed to obey he took the opportunity away. This seems harsh, especially since God decreed that no one of that generation would enter the land (except the 2 who were faithful), but God must have had good reasons. This was the culmination of a long journey. The whole purpose of the people being in the desert was to leave Egypt and go to the land God would give them. He had demonstrated his ability to provide for them. He had defeated kings for them, he had destroyed the army of Egypt for them. Now was the time for God to fulfill his promise, and he gave the command to go take possession of the land. The people sent scouts ahead to be more certain about what they were walking into, but when they believed the fears of their scouts and started disbelieving God, that was their error. After his repeated demonstration of his faithfulness, the people not only didn’t believe he could help them take this country as their new home, they accused him of bringing them here to kill them.
We all doubt and fear, and God demonstrates his ability to be patient with us. Moses is just one example. When God called him to go down to Israel and bring the people out, he made excuses 4 different times. Still God was patient and gave him assurances and helped him get over the fear. It’s obvious, though, that at some point our disbelief that leads to disobedience has to be punished. God understands our fear, but he wants us to trust him. He demonstrates that he is worthy of trust, but he expects us to trust him in a way that’s dangerous to us personally. If the Israelites had gone into the land and God wasn’t worthy of trust, they would have died. If Moses had gone to Pharaoh and God wasn’t with him, he might have been killed. It’s not really faith if you have a plan “B.” We have faith in something that’s worthy of trust, but at some point we have to lean on that faith in a way that’s final. We have to take steps that demonstrate that we believe strongly enough that if what we trust fails, we’re ruined. And when we do come to those times, depend on God and he comes through, there’s no better feeling.