The LORD Is Not Among You
Numbers chapter 14 records an incidence where the people of Israel rouse themselves to venture into the land that God had promised presuming He would approve, (perhaps filled with some sort of remorse at God’s judgment of those who had brought an evil report from their surveying of the land of Canaan and in a seeming bid to placate the Lord’s wrath).
Moses the man of God’s own choosing however warns them of the dangerous and foolish nature of their presumption seeing as God had already proclaimed His judgment upon them concerning their possessing of the land. The bible records that the Israelites rose up early and went up to the mountain top to proclaim themselves as ready to go and possess the land that God had clearly said was now not a possibility for them.
Ignoring Moses’s stern warning that God would not be with them and that they would not only fail to possess the land but would lose their lives by the sword at the hands of the Amalekites and Canaanites the Israelites went ahead to try and possess the land only to be rebuffed by their enemies who mercilessly smote them as Moses had warned they would.
Go Not Up
As we think of the account of Israel’s foolish and dangerous assumption about God’s presence with them Romans 15 verse 4 comes to mind namely that “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.” There is therefore much in this text of Numbers 14 that is useful for our learning today as God’s people.
As well as the account in Numbers chapter 14, Judges chapter 16 reminds us of the dangers of presumption when one Samson presuming God’s presence, even though He had not walked in accordance with God’s clear commandments, lost his sight, his strength, his usefulness and his liberty.
“And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. “
“And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.”
“And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.
“But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.”
Many both the genuine and nominal Christian often presume much concerning God’s person, His works and His Providences, taking it for granted all the time that God shall be with them just because they have made a profession of faith or just because they have offered up a prayer to Him.
Additionally far too many of God’s people embark on major, sometimes unnecessary, changes in career, churches and location, assuming that the Lord has guided them even though they have not earnestly sought His face, with the consequential loss of peace, usefulness and spiritual vigour.
Oh to always humbly seek the Lord’s face and cast ourselves upon Him relying on His wisdom and not the arm of flesh in all the affairs of life that His name might be glorified. That we may know His will for us from day to day seeking not this present passing world but rather to be conformed to His will despite the seemingly loss of advantage we may seem to suffer.
To go up when He says to and to not go up when He says not too so that we may enjoy the blessedness of obedience in Him with all peace of conscience and a loving submission to His perfect will for us.