“At this all the people of Israel cried out in dismay and wept all night long.”-Numbers 14:1
Yesterday’s post ended on quite a negative note, didn’t it?
After the 12 scouts returned from their intelligence gathering mission in the land of Canaan, ten of the men gave a negative report which resulted in all the people falling into a panic.
Everybody began to loudly wail and weep and things got so bad that they even began openly expressing they wished they had never been rescued from slavery in Egypt in the first place.
Simply for the reason that what was being asked of them was outside of their comfort zone.
The mission ahead just seemed too dangerous and unfamiliar.
That’s really all it came down to.
Instead of focusing on the PROMISE, the people were focusing on the PERILS.
This is a perfect example of how a slight attitude difference does indeed make all the difference.
God viewed their reaction as an outright rebellion against Him of the worst sort.
Notice how the Scripture says “the people of Israel cried out in dismay and wept all night long“.
Now although it doesn’t say it, in its proper cultural context, what’s going on here is that the people are crying out to God.
In this sense, Middle Eastern culture is quite different from the reserved and refined manners of Western culture.
In the Middle East, it is not at all uncommon for people to throw themselves on the ground and scream and wail to the heavens in response to whatever tragic event has occurred.
In the West on the other hand, whenever we want to show more piety towards the Lord, we might make an effort to attend our local church or synagogue more often than usual, maybe put a little more money in the tithe box, or volunteer to help out in some capacity.
I’m not saying one cultural protocol is better than another, just different.
Here’s the thing.
Whether one’s way of expressing piety to God is done in a flamboyant manner or in a quiet and reserved way, it means nothing if your heart is not in a sincere place.
Yes, the people of Israel were wailing and crying out to God all night long.
Yet at the same time, they were also grumbling and threatening God’s Chosen Mediator, Moses.
And on top of that, they even began accusing God of not being on their side, saying He was just going to leave them to rot out in the desert.
What’s the lesson to be learned from all of this?
The lesson to be learned is this.
If you have a problem, concern or are feeling anxious about some command or plan of God for your life, right here in the opening verses of Numbers Chapter Fourteen, we are given a perfect demonstration of how NOT to act.
As we’ll say moving forward, God’s response to all of this dramatic weeping and wailing is not going to be pretty at all.