God had promised the children of Israel deliverance from Egypt. God brought the Israelites out with mighty power; through the ten plagues of Egypt. After leaving Egypt, a short trek through the desert had revealed many character problems. The majority of the Israelites complained and doubted God every step of the way. Nevertheless, God remained faithful to His promise. At each step, He forgave the Israelites and provided for them.
Finally, the Israelites arrived at the border of the promised land. Before entering the land, Moses sent out twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan and to bring back a report of what they had seen. Ten of the men brought back a bad report regarding the land and the prospects of the Israelites possessing it. What happened after these men returned with their bad report is something we all need to take to heart.
Most of us are so used to God being a forgiving God that we often take His patience for granted. The children of Israel rejected God’s promise that they would take the land and therefore, God told them that they would wander in the wilderness forty years – one year for each day they spied out the land.
God told the children of Israel that they were not going to be able to enter the land until every man that complained and doubted died in the wilderness. Since God had consistently forgiven them along the way for their transgressions, they assumed that God would again forgive them for refusing to believe the promise of God and enter the land.
But, in this instance, God’s patience had a limit.
How many of you have ever thought about the fact that God’s patience has limits?
Most of us don’t live with that knowledge. Most see God as some type of benevolent heavenly “grandfather” who sits on the porch in heaven, watching us “play”; so enamored with us that He refuses to discipline our rebellion against Him.
People live a lifestyle of rebellion against God for different reasons. Maybe they don’t want to do what God is telling them to do. Or, maybe they have a better idea than God does of how to accomplish what God has told them is theirs. Maybe, like the children of Israel, they would rather live on “welfare”, well below their potential than to go through the difficult character steps it takes to believe God to take them to a life founded on faith in Him.
Many live as a “modern day” Samson; overlooking the consequences of a life of rebellion against God. God was not interested in the opinions of the children of Israel regarding His plan – and He’s not interested in ours either.
Say this out loud so you can hear it, “God is serious about His promises!”
God has written a story; a story of destiny about your life and He is serious about seeing that come to pass. His glory is tied to the accomplishment of that plan. Not that He will diminish if that plan doesn’t happen but, think of this:
What glory is God getting out of a life that may be “Christian” but in no way resembles that of His Son?
Is this type of life going to be “forgiven”? Is this type of life bearing evidence of His Spirit? Does this type of life differ in any way from the life of people who don’t know God?
One thing stood out to me about this story which I want to talk about.
When you refuse God’s promise, you experience a loss that repentance does not reverse.
The Israelites “repented” when Moses told them what God had said about their refusal to believe Him. They decided to change their decision of doubt and go up to the land of promise. Most of us believe that God would have said, “Yes! You changed your mind! Go for it! I’m with you!”
But, instead God said, “No way! You have rejected my Promise; therefore, I reject your promise! You changed your mind but your heart is still the same!”
Esau was Isaac’s son just as Jacob was. Esau was the first born; heir to certain rights and inheritances from his father. But, we all know that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew! As part of Abraham’s lineage, Esau was partner to great promises from God. But, Esau despised this promise; refusing it for reasons that made sense to him.
Here’s a few scriptures that describe God’s view toward Esau’s decision:
Malachi 1:1-3: ‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord. Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ says the Lord. ‘Yet Jacob I have loved; but Esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness.’
Old Testament stuff, I hear someone say.
Hebrews 12:14-17: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Esau’s heritage was laid waste by God due to his rebellion against the Lord. We don’t know of any instance in which Esau committed what we consider fornication but God equated Esau’s refusal of his birthright as such.
Then, when Esau wanted to repent and inherit, the blessing had passed him by.
Here’s the word for today:
Don’t lose your inheritance by saying ‘no’ to God! Don’t take for granted something which has a guarantee tied to your obedience!
God taught me a long time ago that inheritance comes through obedience.
God is not interested in your opinions about His decisions nor does He have to keep something set aside for your while you continue to rebel.
Saying “no” to God’s promise has drastic consequences. Saying “yes” produces drastic blessings! Become a “yes man” or a “yes woman” and find out for yourself!