March 16

March 16

The 12 Spies & 40 Years of Wandering — Israel’s unbelief & God’s judgment.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: Numbers 14

Reading 2: Deuteronomy 1:29-46

Reading 3: Hebrews 3

Yesterday we saw how Israel refused to listen to God; today we read the full details of that rebellion. They would not see from God’s perspective, and they would not listen to God’s promises, and so they incurred God’s anger.

God’s anger is not pent-up and waiting to explode in response to disobedience, rather God’s anger is the consequence of turning away from the God of all the Universe, and rejecting His loving direction. The opposite of that grace is God’s anger – the terrible fruit of hardened hearts.

Notice how deeply the self-will runs in the Israelites (just as it does in you and me by the way). First they decide they know better than God (to the dismay of Joshua, Caleb, Moses, and Aaron). Then, when they are told they have gone against God and will be punished, they decide to now do in rebellion what they refused to do in obedience – go into battle to take the land.

The result of this “double disobedience” is defeat. And for forty years the nation wanders in the wilderness, reflecting the forty days taken by the spies to bring the report which caused them to rebel.

For us, the good news is in Hebrews 3: Jesus has made a way for us to come to God, and all we have to do is guard against making the same mistake: “Do not harden your hearts.”

Heart hardening starts with seeing circumstances larger than God, then grows through unbelief and fear, until it is completed in rebellion.

By contrast, soft hearts are focused on God’s nature, learn to trust Him through difficult circumstances, and are marked by obedience.

Have a great day, with a soft heart!