Summary: The wilderness experience of the Israelites is an illustration of how God’s people can provoke His anger through disobedience and faithlessness. We must take heed lest we fall by the same experience of unbelief (v. 5 cf. 11, 12). The apostle lists some t
Intro: The wilderness experience of the Israelites is an illustration of how God’s people can provoke His anger through disobedience and faithlessness. We must take heed lest we fall by the same experience of unbelief (v. 5 cf. 11, 12). The apostle lists some things we, as Christians, must not do. If we do, then we are fools!
I. WE SHOULD NOT LUST (v.6).
A. Lust – a strong desire for that which God has forbidden; an appetite gone out of control; pleasure focused on the temporal & sinful. We can set our hearts on good things which can become lust when the desire for them displaces God’s will & purpose.
B. Num. 11:4-6. God’s people grew sick with God’s provision in the wilderness and sought the things of Egypt they left behind.
C. We must seek only to do God’s will and the riches of Christ. Money, leisure, fame, and success are not evil per se but can be used by the Devil to make us forget and disobey God.
II. WE SHOULD NOT BE IDOLATERS (v.7).
A. Idolatry – is giving to someone else the glory belonging only to God; Highly regarding anything more than God and His word; being more loyal to a church, group, tradition, leader, etc.
B. Exo. 32:1-9. A golden calf made while Moses was on the mount (v.1) superficially for the Lord (vv. 5, 6), but the fleshly people sought only to worship visually and sensually! Note the "noise of war in the camp" (v.17) which is very much like the sham "celebration" that is prevalent in many churches!
C. Man is naturally addicted to false gods (v.8). Deceived men often praise men, institutions, and churches more than God. People like to think that religious activity that pleases the flesh and senses is also spiritual service! Not so, if it is not rooted in truth. To whom or to what do we bow down? It must only be to our God who will not share His glory to another (Isa. 42:8).
III. WE SHOULD NOT COMMIT FORNICATION (v.8).
A. Fornication – betraying the sacred trust and confidence of a loved one. Idolatry and fornication are akin. The sin of spiritual fornication is a dominant theme found throughout the Bible.
B. Numbers 25:1-3. The vileness of their fleshly desire was equaled by their abominable spiritual fornication! They listened, they watched, they joined in, and bowed down and worshiped!
God’s wrath was rightfully kindled (Num. 31:14-16). Note the sin on Peor was both physical and spiritual in nature. We must understand how God views fornication of any kind.
C. We must also remember not to violate God’s clear directives concerning right worship and fellowship. Spiritual infidelity is a grievous sin. It is both "filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (II Cor. 7:1)! False doctrine leading to sinfulness is viewed by God as a spiritual disease that must be kept away from His people.
IV. WE SHOULD NOT TEMPT CHRIST (v.9).
A. Tempt Christ – The doubting of the Lord’s faithfulness when faced with strong opposition or a sore trial; questioning His presence and power when faced with adversity and trouble.
B. Exo. 17:1-3. They questioned God—doubt and depression rather than faith and patience. Note Num. 21:4-6. God is never slack. The problem comes when we do not take His word. The beginning of doubt is the end of faith, and the beginning of faith is the end of doubt. In a crisis you can choose fear or faith!
C. Due to life’s hardships, people often wonder whether it is worthwhile to obey the Bible and serve God. Is studying the Bible, going to church, praying, and waiting for Christ worth it all? I say yes, if what we believe and do squares with scripture. If it is what God’s word commands, then it sure is! Never doubt God’s ways!
V. WE SHOULD NOT MURMUR (v.10).
A. Murmur – a hint of discontent and discord; the opposite of sincere and heartfelt acceptance of the ways and will of the Lord.
B. Num. 14:2, 27. Instead of going forward to victory, they sat back and murmured. Their corpses fell in the desert (Heb. 3:17). Only Joshua and Caleb entered into Canaan and only due to their faith and good report (Num. 14:37-38).
C. Instead of murmuring, we must rejoice in the open doors of opportunities and challenges to grow and mature in the Lord! We should move forward in trust and obedience. Friends, troubles and problems are here to stay, but let’s be very careful not to face them with murmuring and rebellion but with hope in God.
Conclusion: This brief glimpse of Israel’s history is for our learning and admonition. It is timely to be warned of the many damnable pitfalls of Satan. Think again my friend. Each of us is either pleasing or displeasing God with the way in which we live. Either God is pleased or displeased with us right now. Which is it?