Deuteronomy 1:45 (HCSB)
45 When you returned, you wept before the Lord, but He didn’t listen to your requests or pay attention to you.
Moses conveys the story of Israel’s disobedience at Kadesh-barnea in this passage. The story contains two aspects of disobedience within it, which we should surely take note of today.
- When God commands us to do something , our response should be obedience. As the Israelites reached Kadesh, and were ready to begin taking Canaan, just as God had commanded, they stopped. Rather than proceed boldly, following God, they sent scouts and relied on the reports and intelligence of man instead. Isn’t that often the case when we do not follow God: we do not trust Him? And that was essentially the case for the Israelites, trusting the words of the majority of scouts and their own sense than God and His power. And just as we see God at work all around us, His power in action, we stop dead in our tracks, just as the Israelites did despite all the miracles they witnessed in their journey. And the result? God was angered, and an entire generation missed out on what God had planned for them. Be careful: we are not going to thwart God’s plans, nor did the Israelites, but we can, just as the Israelites did, miss out on walking with God as He accomplishes His plans.
- When God says not to do something, we ought to not do it. So after the Israelites get the news that they won’t be going into Canaan, they realize they have screwed up. Deut 1:41 says the Israelites responded with, “We have sinned against the Lord.” I don’t know if this was a true repentance or not, and I’m not sure it matters, because in the end God says: “Don’t go up and fight, for I am not with you to keep you from being defeated.” So our repentance can be hollow and insincere, and we don’t fool God with it, and that is surely not honored by God. But on the other hand, when our repentance is true and sincere, it does not necessarily mean that we still do not have consequences to face. But the Israelites ignore God’s warning, and instead seem to think that they are setting the rules, and are soundly defeated by the Amorites. And then, when they “wept” afterwards, God ignored them. It would seem that their weeping was not out of further repentance, but out of disappointment that they were not in control and could not manipulate God into doing their bidding. So when we ignore God we have consequences, often multiplied, and can suffer the silence of God to our empty repentance.
Lord, thank You for guiding us. Even though we sometimes choose not to follow Your instruction, and sometimes we try and make our own rules, You are still there ready to complete Your plan, and have a place for us with our true repentance. I pray that I would move when You call me to move, and stop when You command me to stop: help me be obedient and follow You. Amen.