Summary: Going back I. Begins in tears II. And ends in tragedy.
Throughout our lifetimes we hear of and see many times with our own eyes and ears our brothers and sisters stepping off their paths of righteousness and going back to the cares and concerns of the world. Preacher after preacher quitting the ministry and going back into the world.
Many times the question comes up, “Why?” How can someone who starts off so strong for God, all of a sudden turn back?
Well it’s because some have a defective start. Paul describes these people in II Timothy 3:5 as “having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof” Firecrackers. In other words they were never saved. No man can live a life for Christ until that man has received a life from Christ.
Some go back because of a defeated attitude. Gal. 5:7. Paul, “Ye did run well, who did hinder you.....?” It wasn’t God. But who was it? Satan leveled his attacks against them and left them feeling defeated. So their attitude is, “I can’t build a great church like some other preacher, so why try?” “I can’t win souls like others, so why witness?” They’re defeated so they go back.
Some turn back because of discouragement. Gal. 6:9. “And let us not be weary in well doing. For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” God honors persistence. God honors consistency.
The greatest enemy of the Christian is discouragement We start out to conquer the world for Christ then we meet opposition. You see the life of a Christian a commitment.
The cold hard fact is that God has promised us a rose garden, a bed of roses. But we’ve got to go through the thorns to get there. Living for Christ is a day after day confrontation with the devil, and that discouragement if not nipped in the bud leads to doubt and finally to defeat.
In our text we have and example of going back and the tragic results. The Israelites come to the border of the promised land. Moses sends out twelve spies. They scope out the scene. They come back and give their report. Ten of them said, ”We have seen this good land. We saw great walled cities. And we saw giants. We’re sunk. They’re giants and the walls are too high. We’re defeated already. We might as well not even try.
Then the two remaining, brave warriors gave their versions of the story. “Yeah we saw it. We saw the giants. We saw the great walls. We’ve also seen the size of our God. We’ve seen Him in action before. He’s taken care of us all this time. He’s provided. He’s been there with us. He’s led us all this way. He’ll do it again. We can do it. Let’s do it. Let’s do it now. Let’s take it now.”
Well, the majority won out. They decided it was impossible. “We can’t do it. Look at what a mess we’re in now. Let’s go back. Let’s get us a new captain and let’s go back. And they were going to need a new captain if they were gonna go back to Egypt. Because Moses was not going back. He may have made a few mistakes, a wrong move here and there. He may have been disobedient to God a time or two. But he was not going back.
He remembered what he was in the past. The Bible tells us that when he was old enough he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but rather chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. He remembered how his people suffered under Pharaoh’s whip. He could still hear the cries of his people as they were bound in slavery and bondage. Just the same as we are when we’re and without Christ. We’re bound and chained as we’re slaves to sin and Satan. Moses remembered what he was in the past and regardless of what happened one thing was for sure. He was not going back. He started with God and by the grace of God he would complete that journey.
Two things about going back to point out.
I. Begins in tears
II. And ends in tragedy.
V.1 The people wept that night. Why? Because going back begins with tears. “Let’s make us a new captain and let us return to Egypt.”
They never made it back to Egypt but they went back in their hearts. They had gone away from God. They wondered in the land of the wilderness until all of the rebels had died off. Their going back began in tears and ended in tragedy.
It has always been like that. Throughout the Bible we see it. The life of Saul. That great man. Head and shoulders above the rest. King of Israel. He was anointed King and began to serve God. Then God gave him instructions. He didn’t do what he was told.