Early the next morning they went up toward the high hill country. "We have sinned," they said. "We will go up to the place the LORD promised."
But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the LORD's command? This will not succeed! Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, He will not be with you and you will fall by the sword." Numbers 14:40-43
The Israelites wanted to parade their pride as boldness; their stubbornness as persistence. Nobody can fool God. He knows every beat of our hearts and every motive behind our actions. Instead of submitting to the LORD's will, they poised as if they were going to please God in doing His command that was supposed to be done at the time it was given. Delayed obedience is not obedience at all. Their distrust in His power hindered them on carrying out God's instruction -the reason why His anger burned against this generation and punished them not to inherit the promised land (except for Caleb and Joshua). When they knew through Moses the result of their neglect on God's command, they suddenly felt the need to go against the Canaanites and Amelakites; to pursue the promised land. What stubbornness!
God knew well that this is not about pleasing Him but doing what their selfish desires call them to do. Why did the Israelites suddenly become obedient? Certainly not to win God's favor, for if that's the case, they could've fallen into their knees and ask for forgiveness. When the LORD declared their fate because of their disobedience, they resisted and became decisive. They suddenly became courageous to do what God wants them to do. They began running after their inheritance. How mistaken were their motives. Their drive to get their inheritance will not make them victorious, but only their trust in God.
We do not do God's commands the way we want it and when we want it. We do not obey God for the sake of a reward, but of who He is in our lives. We are His people, and He is our God. To please Him, this should be our want. To bring Him glory and honor, this should be our motivation. May we be more than eager and delighted to do His will while His grace flows in us. A lot of people hear about the promise of Salvation, yet only a few take heed of it. Most of them, like the Israelites, run away from what was promised for the fear of losing their so called "lives" in their endeavor with Christ.
If only the Israelites trusted and obeyed the LORD, they could have won the battle against their enemies. They could have enjoyed a land flowing with milk and honey. However, they chose to fight on their own strength. They chose to do their own will, and from that, they lost God's grace to win the battle with the giants and inhabit the land. Many a man, at the end of his life, would find himself without inheritance; for the grace of God had already been lifted from him.
But today, the battle goes on and His grace is abounding. Are we going to run away and save ourselves? Jesus is the only one who can save us. And God has given Him to us in His grace and mercy. Let's put our trust in our Redeemer and obey His precepts, thus we can enjoy an everlasting life with Him!
God's grace only lasts until it is given to us. May we take every opportunity to grasp it, fulfilling His will in our lives.
Reading: Mark 11:12-14, Numbers 14