“That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness. Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-3)
Doubt never stands still. It’s always sliding somewhere worse. The journey from doubt to despair is short and slippery. It doesn’t take months or even weeks; doubt can evolve into despair in a matter of a few, short days. And a crisis can accelerate the trip even faster …..
In the case of the children of Israel, who were really good at doubting, slipping into despair took only a few hours. After ten of their twelve spies returned from the Promised Land with a gloomy report, “all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness’”
Soon enough that wish would be fulfilled. Then they said these tragic words: “‘Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt’” (14:3-4).
So not only did they lack the faith to believe God would do what He said He would (give them the Promised Land), but they also believed He would allow them to be slaughtered; their soldiers killed in battle and their wives and children brutalized. Concluding they’d be better off as slaves in Egypt, the Israelites suggested mutiny against Moses as a good first step in that direction. They did nothing but grumble and complain. They essentially spit right in the face of God …..
Is that thinking messed up or what? Talk about a bad plan! Here’s why:
First, their despair was totally contrary to their amazing experiences. They had forgotten God’s continual provision: a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night, the parting of the Red Sea, daily manna, and on and on. Had God not provided for them every step of the way? How soon we do forget …..
Second, if they did turn around and go back to Egypt, did they really expect God would continue to provide manna for them on the way back across the Sinai Desert? That seems unlikely …..
Third, if they did — by some slim chance make it back to Egypt, what was their sales pitch? They had drowned all of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. Would they waltz into Egypt and announce, “Sorry about all of that. We want to make up with you now”? Helllooo, that wouldn’t sit well with the surviving Egyptians …..
Fourth, and most importantly, this was a bad plan because it rose from a moment of desperation. Desperate plans come from despairing hearts. “You’re planning to do what?!” It’s important to note that it’s a short journey from doubt to despair, where the future is not bright like the promises of God. In a dark place, some people make desperate plans because, like a tumor growing out of control, their doubts metastasize into despair, and then they are doubting their very Deliverer ….
You will never, ever trust God and regret it. Never! Whether the choices are momentary or the challenges are huge, if you choose to trust God and keep going, you will never regret it. And God will never ever disappoint or fail anyone who places their trust in Him. In contrast, any time you choose doubt, you miss incredible opportunities to prove the faithfulness of God ….
In spiritual matters, it shouldn’t be, “I’ll believe it when I see it;” …. it’s always “I’ll see it when I believe it” because it’s all about the trust ….
Are you a doubting person? Perhaps the answer might be yes. Maybe the answer is sometimes, but in all honesty the answer is probably too often, or more than I’d like, at least for me. But in spiritual matters; doubting is death. In the Word it is written: “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
Therefore in closing, may we allow the Word of God to reconcile with honest hearts and admit that we all struggle with doubt from time to time. However, we need only to remember how far God has brought us to be assured of His promise to continue the work He began in us. Prayer is the antidote to this malady that overtakes us ….
Fervent prayer, desperate prayers always will achieve results. God is faithful. He will not fail you. He will not abandon you. Let your faith rise up today and all of your doubts, fears, and insecurities diminish …
“I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O Lord , supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (Psalms 94:18-19)
Father God, I can see in the Israelites what I’m blind to in myself: doubt, despair, and irrational thinking. Please help me to see clearly in the mirror of Your Word. Show me the areas where I doubt You, and please forgive me. Bolster my faith Lord. May I ever be reminded that You have never failed me and You never will in those moments of despairing. I have never trusted You and regretted it, so I choose to believe in Your Word, to act on it, and to stand firmly planted, rooted and grounded on Your promises. I will trust You no matter how I feel, because You have promised a good result and a positive outcome to those who trust You. I thank You Lord for a new day and for Your promise of fresh mercies and compassion. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen …