Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. (Deuteronomy 1:39)
Do as I say, not as I do. Familiar?
Wow, I hope I never used that on my son.
A familiar saying that denotes the speaker as already guilty, wouldn’t you say?
If I am doing things well than, by all means follow me as I follow Christ. But, if I am in error, Lord have mercy – DON’T FOLLOW ME!
In the Book of Numbers the Bible unfolds this dance of disobedient children; children delivered by the very hand of God out of slavery.
It’s a dance that exhibits the mercy of God to a generation whose parents grumbled over and over again, to the God who spoke with Moses face to face.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.” (Numbers 14:26-38)
Here we see that after much complaining the Lord did exactly what the children testified.
In the desert, we will die.
My intrigue has been in the complaining. Not only are they grumbling, they just saw miracles that no one had ever seen before. They are the ones God delivered with a mighty hand and outstretched arm.
What fascinates me is the cry of the children, the younger generation.
If indeed they were young when they traveled into the desert, a generation that would ultimately grow up and see the promise land, where did their complaining come from?
"Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” (Numbers 20:4-5)
This is the younger generation speaking!
Could it be they learned this behavior and language from their grumbling parents? Could this generation really remember the figs, grapevines and pomegranates? Maybe some did or maybe they just remembered their parents language.
What kind of conversation do we have around our children? How do we speak around co-workers and family members who specifically don’t know the redeeming life that Jesus offers?
Do as I say, not as I do?
The Lord indeed exhibited his mercy with these second generation grumblers.
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin." (Deuteronomy 24:16 )
Complaining is a form of disobedience. It's a place of dissatisfaction!
What we are saying is, God is not enough.
It is by the mercy and grace of God that these people even entered the Promise Land!
What kind of complaining, dissatisfied language are we passing down to others?
Are we missing the promise land?
Should others not hear the testimony of God’s blessing upon our lives instead?
God has been very good to us!
Unfortunately, if we are not careful our speech is more like, “the grass is greener on the other side.” We justify our grumpy attitudes and can very well misdirect the “hearer” as our hands are stamped "guilty"!
Behaviors are learned.
We are silent teachers to those around us.
We are instruments that lead people either to obedience or disobedience.
We introduce them to the Lord or cheer them into their path of destruction.
What’s on our tongue?
"So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.” (Numbers 14:38)
Let our countenance project joy, mercy and the grace of God.
May our tongues testify of God’s goodness as we see it and as we wait for visions and promises to unfold.
No weapon formed against us will prosper except our own destructive heart and tongue.
Maybe the reason the grass is greener is because the property owner blessed the Lord!
God bless you!~Liz
Certified Christian Life Coach