PLEASE...Can’t We Just Go Back! (Numbers 14:1-2)
Numbers 14:1-2, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
A gathering of panic, fear, doubt, and unbelief against God's will swept through the entire camp. The people cried and wept all night long. The constant complaining and unbelief of the people is emphasized. “All the congregation…” Every adult was complaining in unbelief. Not a single adult was trusting God, believing that He could lead them into the promised land (Numbers 14:1-4). Their voices were raised as they wept aloud. The entire congregation was intoxicated with doubt and despair. God's people had come so far. They’d been through so much, and now they felt they could not go any farther. Fear can cause people to quit and give up. It can remove the desire to go forward, to try hard, to follow and obey God’s leading. They were so close to their goal, but did not have faith in the Lord to trust Him with the obstacles and opposition to come, even though the purging of Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea, and the provision of manna and water in the desert were all still in their memories. They were not thinking and remembering what God had already done for them! How tragic it is today that people quit because they fear something such as failure, and end up missing out on wonderful blessings in their lives.
Gary Inrig stated that the record for the shortest major league baseball career probably belongs to a member of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, a pitcher named Harry Hartman. He was a gifted young ballplayer whose day of glory arrived in 1918, when he was called up from the minor leagues to pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates. This was the moment he’d dreamed about, the beginning of a great baseball career, but his dreams began to fade when his first pitch was hit for a single. The next batter tripled. Rattled, he walked the next hitter. The next batter tripled. Rattled, he walked the next batter on four straight pitches, and when he did throw a strike to the next hitter, it went for a single. He was having a very bad day. At that point, Hartman had enough. He headed for the showers, dressed, and walked out of the baseball stadium to a naval recruiting office, where he enlisted in the Navy. The next day, he was in a military uniform, never to be heard from in professional baseball again. All that he could have accomplished in baseball never came to pass because he quit. Part of his problem was a fear of failure.
You will find that your fear robs you of common sense, courage, and memories of past victories and success. It is as if your memory is wiped clean. So many believers today are fearful. They are afraid to do God’s will and serve Him. They are afraid to speak up for Christ and tell others about Him. They struggle to grow spiritually because their fear fans the flames of disobedience, doubt, and unbelief. Doubt in the Lord does not fill a person with the joy of the Lord. Satan's crowd claims that Christians do not have any fun or joy. The truth of the matter is people who are living in sin do not have the joy of the Lord. They tend to drown their sorrows with drugs, alcohol, immorality, etc. Their stubbornness and bad choices create more sorrow for themselves. They fail to see that joy can be found in being surrendered and obedient to the will of God in your life. Doubt never stands still. It’s always sliding somewhere worse. The journey from doubt to despair is short and slippery. Doubt and disbelief gripped the hearts of God’s people. When that happened, they began to gripe, grumble, and undermine Moses and his leadership. They thought that Canaan was an absurd plan. Instead, their plan was to go back to Egypt, which was ridiculous! Egypt was eliminated by the Lord and pillaged by the people. It was the land where the sting of the death of the firstborn was still being felt. It was the land whose army and Pharaoh were drowned in the Red Sea.
Those who are backslidden do not think straight at all. Their goals, philosophies, and the basis of their decisions are based upon fantasy instead of reality. They end up getting into big, big trouble because they make terrible decisions. This is what happens when you stop trusting and obeying the Lord. If you fear the Lord, you will be free from the fear of your enemies; if you forget God, you will inevitably fear men. The same is also true in our experience. If we simply consider the obstacles that face our churches or the difficulties that we face as individuals, it is easy to determine that we are overmatched. Humanly speaking, our lives are full of impossible challenges. The faithful will come under constant criticism by those who are more interested in unbelief than faith. This is why anyone who feels led to enter the ministry needs thick skin and a heart of compassion or they will soon throw in the towel and quit because of criticism. You will never, ever trust God and regret it. Never! Whether the choices are momentary or the challenges are huge, if you choose to trust God and keep going, you will never regret it. In contrast, any time you choose doubt, you miss incredible opportunities to prove the faithfulness of God.
PRAYER: Lord, I truly want to defeat the doubt I struggle with in life. Arm me with Scripture that I may defeat the devil with the power of Your Word. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.