The Refreshing That Comes with Rebuke

Wendy Pope

Day: 14 | Plan: Numbers

Today's Reading: Numbers 14

Numbers 14:11 (NIV) “The LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?’”

It’s a tough day for the Israelites. Their failure to trust God and unwillingness to advance to the Promised Land evoked a severe punishment for everyone … everyone except Caleb and Joshua.

Of the 12 scouts Moses sent into the land, Caleb and Joshua were the only two who demonstrated the confidence and faith necessary to successfully move forward with God’s plan. Because the others lacked faith, the fate of this generation of Israelites was to wander in the desert for 40 years and never enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 14:30) This catastrophic news did not sit well with God’s people.

As I read today’s key verse my core temperature rises, like it does when there is a huge miscarriage of justice or a violation of a cause near to my heart. I want to shake my fist and shout to God’s people, “Seriously? How can you treat God this way? Why do you continue to disobey Him? After all He has done for you, how can you refuse to believe Him?”

Just as the words start to roll from my lips, a lump fills my throat and an ache shoots through my heart. My own words taunt me. “Wendy, how can you treat God with contempt? How long will you refuse to believe Him?”

Sometimes Scripture trains and teaches, and sometimes it rebukes so it can correct. (2 Timothy 3:16) I am most definitely experiencing some rebuke today. But God’s reprimand always reaches to us with love.

A study of the Hebrew word contempt finds more words hard to swallow, like provoke, anger and incite to action. Simply put: each time God’s children disobey and refuse to believe we invite His discipline. As I reread our key verse, I can sense His pain and rejection. I am brought to my knees because I realize I am no different than those who walked out of Egypt. When I disobey, I reject God, and invite correction.

Yet, with His correction also comes love because He disciplines the one He loves. (Hebrews 12:6) We can be challenged to obey God and comforted to know that when we fall short, He lavishly loves and corrects us, spurring a change in our behavior.

Prayer : Lord, today I repent. Forgive me for the areas of disobedience in my life and for each time I choose to not believe You. I see the thread of Your tender mercies throughout my life. I want to be as faithful to You as You are to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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