Summary: Unbelief makes God angry. Moses saw that personally in Exodus 4:1-14 and among the people of Israel in Deut 1:26-36. Cultivate a willingness to trust and a readiness to obey.
RECAP – Romans 8:28-30
• God is concern with our CHARACTER, more than our comfort or our competence. Your character is what you will take into eternity.
• He is restoring us to back to His perfect and glorious image and therefore He uses every experience we have on earth to do that. Earth is the Potter’s wheel.
• Character COUNTS and character IMPACTS the world more than anything else.
How to make God angry? I know some of you will think about sin or evil, but I want to talk about something else today.
• One line in Deut 1:26-36 caught my attention last Sunday night when I was preaching. [Read Deut 1:26-36]
CONTEXT: This was Moses’ sermon to the people, as they gather in the desert East of Jordan, at the edge of the land of Canaan.
• Almost 40 years have passed. This new generation of Israelites, with Joshua and Caleb, will finally step into the Promised Land.
• Moses was delivering his final words of the people, giving them a flashback of what happened over the last 40 years.
Moses recounted the unbelief of their forefathers that led to their wandering in the desert.
• 1:34 tells us very clearly that God was so angry with the people that He swore: “No a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb…” because he believed me.
• The whole entire nation came under God’s wrath because of unbelief.
Unbelief angers God. The opposite is true – faith pleases God. Heb 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God.
• Israel’s unbelief was expressed in various ways – 1:26-28 “You are unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so He brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, `The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.'”
• When you lose sight of God, these are the symptoms – you are not willing to trust, you become rebellious, you grumbled in your ‘tent’ quietly, you misread God’s good intention; you become discouraged, and you see your problems as bigger than they should be.
Sounds familiar? I went through bouts of these feelings over the years. It has its root in unbelief. And it happens when I set my eyes on something else other than God.
• Unbelief sets in when our perspective changes.
• What exactly are you looking at? Most of the time?
Jesus says, “Have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22) That’s the OBJECT of faith, and the FOCUS of our faith.
• Anything else – the circumstances, the challenges, the giants before you – will give you reasons enough to DOUBT.
• The Israelites had their eyes on everything else except God, despite all the signs He has given them.
The unbelief was not the result of a lack of EVIDENCES, because God has performed!
The unbelief was not the result of a lack of ASSURANCES, because God has spoken!
Moses pleaded with them then - Deut 1:29-31 “Then I said to them, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."
Deut 1:32-33 “In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.”
God has spoken and God has performed. There were undeniable signs of His presence and power, but the people have chosen to look SOMEWHERE else.
• They looked at themselves, their problems, their circumstances, and even at Egypt, the land they have just left.
• Ultimately, belief or unbelief is a CHOICE. Faith is an act of the will.
Are you WILLING to believe? The people REFUSED to trust God.
• You may find this hard to believe, but over some time you will find this to be true.
• It is not just about evidences, although they are aids and can help us make a decision. But the decision to TRUST God is a CHOICE.