3 “Why has the LORD brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt? 4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground before the whole assembled community of the Israelites. 6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!” 10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. But the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me, and how long will they not believe in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them?”
We can imagine that fear gripped many of the Israelite’s hearts as they prepared to embrace the new place God was bringing them to. In our modern day, problems abound when you move from one location to another; the details surrounding relocating can be dizzying and something is likely to fall through – but if our neighbors were a burly sort and professed enemies, it might make us shake in our boots, too. But fear does not have to equate to unbelief. Believing in someone or something is an action formed by a choice. Feelings and circumstances can affect our belief, but they do not have to.
The Israelites’ first inclination when spotting a potential challenge was to doubt God’s goodness and even ascribe evil motives to God. Would a good God really bring them from slavery to annihilate them in the promised land? Ironically, what their belief system was ended up being their end. When doubt creeps into our hearts, we must recognize it and choose to believe the truth when tempted to focus on difficult surroundings. They rebelled against God’s promise and His leaders and cleaved instead to their comfort zone, which they had forgotten was not as comfortable as they recalled. They met their demise and did not enter the promised land, just as they believed. What we believe in, often happens.
Disbelief in God is equated to hatred of Him in the above passage. How can we love someone we do not believe? What is belief when it is not tested? It is easy to believe when we see the end, but faith in something unknown is difficult for us humans. We do not want to be a fool and do not want to dare to believe if it means our hopes might be crushed.
The doubting disciple Thomas felt that way, too. To believe that Christ had indeed risen from the dead was something he could not understand, so he chose to doubt until he saw it for himself. God was merciful and revealed himself to him, anyway. Blessed is the one who believes even when he does not see.
God has revealed Himself to us in countless ways. The gift of His son and His precious Word along with all creation testifies to His goodness. If you do not believe in Him, Why not ask Him now to help you believe? Twenty-six years ago I did the same thing and I will never be the same. Through good and bad times, He has proven Himself to be faithful to all of His promises. Even in moments of despair, we can have perfect peace and know that He carries us through those times. Believing might feel foolish when everything around you seems to say the opposite, but its fruit is sweeter than any pessimistic view could ever achieve. Go with God.
Lord, thank you for the gift of faith and for opening my eyes to believe and trust in You at all times. Be glorified in us, LORD! Help us to be faithful and to recognize the lies of the enemy for what they are.