Summary: First in the series about seeking God’s glory. Complacency is the common cold of Christianity. It is vital that we learn from our past and move forward if we truly want to enter into the glory of God.
Learning from the Past
Do you ever wonder how many times it takes for a child to learn what No means? Or, just what the rules are for the house? It seems like you tell them over and over, and they still do the same thing. Sometimes you just sit staring into space wondering what on earth they were thinking. The sad thing is that when they grow up, they keep going through the same cycle. Israel was just like a child. They never seemed to grow up and learn from their ways. Christians today are no different. We have a hard time learning to grow up and learning from our ways. Look at what Paul had to say.
The Corinthians are warned to learn from the past. Israel fell into judgement because of their refusal to learn. Now the Corinthians and all Christians are warned against the same pattern.
I.Warning against Complacency v. 1-5
God blessed the Israelites. They were truly under His banner of mercy and grace. When God delivered them from the Egyptians, they were under His hedge of protection in the cloud. They were under the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. As they walked through the wilderness, God continued His provision for a people who were undeserving and ungrateful. God brought them through the Red Sea, gave them manna, provided their water, and gave them the leadership of Moses. God blessed the people. They had it made all they had to do was walk with God. All the people needed to do was walk in the full blessings of God and enjoy His presence.
God never failed to meet their need. He gave them spiritual food and spiritual drink. God provided supernaturally for their need for food and water. Manna from heaven was given and Moses struck the rock that provided the water. God provides for us too. Christ is our food. God shows and provides for our every need.
Even though God provided and paved the way, God was not pleased with them. The people were complacent. They did not rejoice in what they were given to eat, their protection from God, and the continual blessing that the people had. Israel became complacent in their relationship w/ God. Everything that God was doing for them was taken for granted.
Complacency is a plague among Christians. God is not pleased with complacency. One of our greatest problems is that we use the very freedom and life that we have been given in Christ as a license to sin. We begin to believe the lie that our lives are great all because everything is going well. We must be living right because things are going so good. There is nothing that we need to do or say, because we are God’s child and are just fine. Complacency means that there is no passion, and that there is no desire to work on what is there. Christians believe the lie that we are receiving blessings, so we must be living right. Sin becomes something that we no longer consider as dangerous and something to be guarded against because everything is going so well. We open ourselves up to it and before we even realize we have become complacent and take for granted God, our Lord and Savior, and who we are and all we have been given in Him.
The church has become complacent. We are complacent when we try to ignore the needs around us and stay in the church bubble. The warning given to us here is one we do not need to take lightly. Just as God brought judgement on the children of Israel, God will bring it to those of us who open ourselves up to sin. Complacency leads us directly into the sin that we have been set free from.
Warning against Idolatry v. 6-12
Despite God’s blessings the people turned to everything but the Lord to attempt to meet their needs. Israel turned to idolatry- while Moses was meeting with God, the people were worshipping a golden calf. They were giving themselves to pagan worship rather than to the God that rescued them from a life of bondage and was providing for their every need. In Num. 25; over 23,000 were struck down in judgement because they were committing harlotry with the women of Moab. Israel became so consumed in sexual immorality that it became apart of their worship as they joined themselves with prostitutes in pagan worship.
Numbers 21:4-9 tells us that the people tested God by complaining against Him. Israel couldn’t see God’s blessings through their own sin and complacency. They refused to have faith that God would continue to provide for them as He promised that he would do. In verse 10 Paul makes a specific reference to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16. Korah and his followers grumbled against the leadership of Moses. Moses was God’s appointed leader. When they attacked the leadership of Moses they attacked God. God’s judgement fell upon them and the ground opened up and consumed them.