Summary: This is part of a sermon series entitles, Overcoming the Grasshopper complex. Believers do not have to live their lives bound by the mistakes and sins of the past. they can achieve victory as they submit themselves to God’s plan for thier lives. this mes

TITLE: When Faith Is Not Enough

TEXT: Numbers 14:39-45

THEME: rebellion, presumptive faith, Israelites, wilderness faith, sin, joshua,

P.S. Many people forge ahead with faulty presuppositions about God and His will for their lives. Like the Israelites we have a tendency to rush into situations thinking we know in advance exactly what God wants us to do.

Key Verse: But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the Ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp.


ILLUSTRATION: People who presume to know what is best for them are often mistaken. Take for example the man who presumed that he knew which plane to board when he wanted a quick 50 minute flight from Los Angeles to Oakland, California. However, after two hours in the air he asked the flight attendant why it was taking so long to land in Oakland. The stewardess disappeared for a moment and called the pilot about a man who might pose a threat to the safety of all those on board. Before the man knew it he was handcuffed and put in the back of the plane. 12 hours later, the man learned that he was in New Zealand. After serious questioning, the man confessed that he misunderstood the New Zealand pronunciation of the capital of New Zealand, Auckland for Oakland. Even though it turned out to be an innocent mistake, the man’’s faulty presumption landed him and many others in a heap of trouble.

P.S. Many people forge ahead with faulty presuppositions about God and His will for their lives. Like the Israelites we have a tendency to rush into situations thinking we know in advance exactly what God wants us to do.

We may even pray, asking him to bless our plans. We may claim every passage of scripture and expect God to do as we think HE should. Yet in the end we are beaten, and trampled by the enemy. Like Israel, we are browbeaten, confused, and ashamed. We are left wondering,

Where were God’s promises? Why did He forsake Israel in their hour of need? Why did He allow His people to be humiliated in the presence of unbelievers? Where have we gone wrong?

First, a little background to our passage this morning. We left the Israelites at the shores of the Jordan, paralysed with the fear of the giants they would face. Fear does peculiar things to a persons rational. They even said it would be better to return to Egypt, than to face the challenges of the promised Land. You can almost hear their cries as they receive God’s pronouncement through Moses,

As I live, says the Lord, just as you have spoken in my hearing, so I will do to you; The carcasses of you who have complained against me shall fall in the wilderness all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.(v.28-29)

It must have seemed like the longest night of their lives. It is heart wrenching to hear one family mourn at the loss of a loved one. But imagine the wail of 2.5 million people crying and screaming atthe loss of their promised home. Thirty-eight years would be added to the two that were spent in the desert. This would make 40 years total. That whole generation would be doomed to die meaninglessly in the hot, unforgiving arid wilderness. What a waste of resources, and faith.

It is human nature to be reactionary. leaders decided to take action. Some of the Israelite Now, all of a sudden they felt they had the faith to go into the land . Now they saw how mistaken they had been. Now they were determined to prove to Moses and God, that they were the giants after all, and the Canaanite were the grasshoppers. They sounded brave, stalwart, and strong.

In fact if the story began here, it would appear as if the Israelites truly believed that God would be with them as He promised. However, the story continues,

And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the montan, saying, ‘Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we can certainly do it.’

Heedless of Moses’ warning that the ‘Lord was not among them’, the people forged ahead into battle anyway. The result was disastrous. The Amalekites and the Canaanite came down and attacked them and drove them as far as Hormah. Hormah is not a place as much as a physical state of being. It means “Utter destruction”. The Israelites were pushed to the brink of anhiliation. Years latter, Moses would recount this sad episode, and add this vivid picture of what happened,

And the Amoroties who dwelt in the mountains came out against you and chased you as bees do...’(Deut.1:44)

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