Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Last Straw

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me. Tell them: By my life, says the LORD, I will do to you just what I have heard you say. Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Numbers 14:28,29

Beware of grumbling and complaining. Beware of doubt and unbelief. These were the things that brought God's judgment on Israel.

We hear often that such things can be healthy. They actually help us grow in our faith. They allow us to explore aspects of our faith that we don't understand. They give us an opportunity to vent. These all have meaning in a modern psychologized society. But they do not have meaning with God.

God wants to be trusted more than anything. We can only demonstrate a true love for God if we are willing to trust Him. Grumbling and complaining show that we do not trust Him. We think we know better, or worse, we simply are unsatisfied with what He is giving.

God put up with Israel through many complaints, but this was the last straw. Why? Was it because they were now at the border of the Promised Land only to turn away out of fear and unbelief? Perhaps. God treats this episode as a complete rejection of Him. But then, there were many such incidents. I think God responds to them as He does because He has promised them this land since they came out of Egypt. This is what it was all about. Now they wanted to run. They were rejecting God's plan for something else of their own making.

It's true that we encounter doubts along the way. If we do not allow them to overwhelm us they can turn into an opportunity to strengthen our faith. Sometimes we have a bad day and grumble and complain. God knows that we are weak and far from perfect. However, when these things become a habit they are awfully hard to break. The more we yield to them, the further we fall from God. If we do not turn back, we will find ourselves utter skeptics and rejecting the Faith altogether. It has happened so many times in the past. We must not think it couldn't happen to us.

We may not understand various aspects of our faith and we may not understand what God is accomplishing in us through our present circumstances. That's all right. God doesn't call us to understand. He calls us to believe. He calls us to believe in Him. It's all about Him. It's about our relationship with Him. He doesn't care if we are theologians, but He does want us to be lovers. Lovers trust each other. God wants us to trust Him as a sign of our supreme love for Him.

If we are making our home in this world and rejecting the one God is preparing for us, it's a pretty safe bet that we will find ourselves left outside of it in the end. This is the judgment He pronounced on Israel. He will do the same to us if we follow in their footsteps. Let us renew our pledge of faith this day. Let us trust Him to aid us even in overcoming our doubts and fears. Let us now turn back when faced with the giants of our promised land. Let us go forward in faith!

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