Digging Out the Root of Rebellion
Rebellion is not just for hardened rebels. Rebellion can be as simple as doing God’s will our way. What is it that causes you to rebel and resist God? What causes you to doubt God’s goodness or calling on your life? Digging Out the Root of Rebellion in our own lives is hard. We don’t often recognize it as rebellion. And we are good at making excuses, right? But Moses has some tips for us today from the book of Numbers that will help us to inspect and detect rebellion and to influence ourselves toward righteousness, instead.
Bible Reading of the Day: Numbers 13-16
We are all likely familiar with the story we read from Numbers today. Joshua and Caleb went to scout out and inspect the land of Canaan. There are so many practical takeaways from this story that we can apply to our lives I am going to try and unpack it briefly. Twelve men were sent to scout out the land of Canaan, the promised land. At the end of 40 days they came back with their report.
Numbers 13:26-29, “The men went back to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites are living in the land of the Negev; the Hethites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.”
Digging Out the Root of Rebellion—Stick to the Facts
The “however” interrupts the facts and injects some fear. Opinions to cloudy the reality. Don’t we see this on the news? The news is supposed to share facts – what is happening, but a slant and a bias can be shared at the same time to influence or persuade listeners to go a certain direction.
Numbers 13:30-33, “Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!” 31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
If you have ever caught a fish, or heard someone tell the story of their fish catching, that fish grows in size, right? Notice the word “strong” in verse 28 became “stronger” in verse 31. The truth was embellished. Covered with a lie. A lie does not have to be so obvious for it to deceive.
Digging Out the Root of Rebellion—The Power of Influence
Numbers 14:1-4, “Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. 2 All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”
- The crowd mentality pulled them away.
- Their recollection was not accurate
- They accused God and His character
- They came to a poor conclusion that rebelled against God’s command.
Digging Out the Root of Rebellion—The Power of Good Influence
Numbers 14:5-9, “Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole assembly of the Israelite community. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite community, “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. 9 Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”
Be influencers of righteousness and be aware of the naysayers who try to discourage you. Reaching our culture will be hard. People will try to discourage or intimidate us. They will seek to shame us so we are silenced. But we can stand firm and walk in truth.
Numbers 14:9 has several principles to help curb rebellion:
- Don’t rebel against God.
- Don’t fear man more than fearing God.
- Stick to the facts. The protection of inhabitants of Canaan had been removed.
- Don’t forget the biggest asset we have—God is with us!!!
Digging Out the Root of Rebellion—Exposing the Lie
As we seek to be grounded in God’s word, this helps us to see clearly and to have a Biblical worldview. The world does not want us to have a biblical worldview. It wants to influence us rather than us influencing it. Being in God’s word faithfully helps us to see the influences in our lives clearly.
Digging Out the Root of Rebellion—The Consequences of Rebellion
The journey to the promised land was supposed to take 11 days. We see this in Deuteronomy 1:2, “It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir.” But because of their rebellion, it would now take them 40 years. Numbers 14:34, “You will bear the consequences of your iniquities forty years based on the number of the forty days that you scouted the land, a year for each day. You will know my displeasure.”
Some key principles we can learn from their example:
- Walk in faith instead of fear
- Crowd mentality and influence
- Because of their disobedience, fear, rebellion, etc, what should have taken 11 days, now would take 40 years.
Scripture of the Day: Numbers 14:17-19
17 “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ 19 In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”
- Follow God’s word—not man’s
- Be aware of influences in your life
- Doing God’s will our way will fail (Numbers 14:39-35)
- Beware of naysayers
- Have reminders to help us remember God and to obey Him. (Influence ourselves).
- Don’t follow your own heart or eyes (Numbers 15:37-39)
Numbers 15:37-39, “The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. 9 These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them and not prostitute yourselves by following your own heart and your own eyes.”
What reminder do you need to have in place to help you to be faithful to God?