Friday, March 9, 2018

the carousel of unbelief

The Word for today:
Numbers 1, 2
“If only I knew then what I know now…”
That’s the lament of many lives. But a wavering believer’s lament is different.
The book of Numbers documents the wayward wandering of Israel. God told them the Promised Land was theirs for the taking. But instead of acting on God’s word, they looked at their enemies and their obstacles and let their fears overcome their faith.
The name of the book comes from the census taken in chapter 1 and another census in chapter 26. Those “numbers” tell a tragic tale. In chapter 1 there are 603,000 (men over 20, capable of combat.) In chapter 26 there are 2,000 less. They were fewer than when they had started.
And their forty years of wilderness wandering had gotten them exactly nowhere. When we get to chapter 20, they are at Kadesh Barnea — where they had refused to go into the Promised Land in the first place. It was like they were riding a merry-go-round and got off where they got on. Because of their unbelief, they had not advanced an inch.
A wasted generation ago, Israel had known what they needed to know. God had been their eyes. He told them what was up ahead. They knew, but they didn’t believe. They trusted their own limited vision instead.
When we look back over our lives, we will not regret that we weren’t told what was ahead. Our experiences will have confirmed that we were truthfully told all that we needed to know. Our regrets will be that we didn’t believe the advance word that we were given.
So why don’t we cut our losses right here and now. Let’s say you’ve known the Word but haven’t fully acted on it/followed it for two years, or ten, or twenty. That’s still a lot better than forty years of going nowhere.
Hank Williams, Jr. wrote that he was fated to live out the life his father had led (1). We are not. We do not have to wait until we’re in Kadesh Barnea (again) to get off the Carousel of Unbelief.
(1) “Family Tradition,” 1979

No comments:

Post a Comment