In Part One I began by saying that it is God’s desire that all people would walk in the fullness of the promises contained in His Word. But that if we do not have faith we will not be able to receive those things that God has for us. 1 Corinthians 10:5-10 warns us that the Israelites did not enter into the Promised Land for four main reasons. Paul tells us that these things were recorded as an example for us, so that we would not make the same mistakes.
Tempting the Lord
The Apostle Paul continues “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents” .(1 Corinthians 10:9)
In the Greek, this word for ‘tempt’ is ‘ekpeirazo’, meaning to ‘test thoroughly or to put to proof god’s character and power’ (Strong’s Concordance).
This is exactly what the Israelites were doing. They did not believe in the words that God had spoken to them or in His power to fulfil His words; “But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey’” (Leviticus 20:24). Instead what the Israelites saw were the obstacles in front of them. They did not even give recognition to God that He was already supplying their food in the form of manna from heaven, but they believed there was a lack of provision from God.
“And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread’ (They were speaking of the manna that God was miraculously providing from heaven). So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and many of the people of Israel died”.(Numbers 21: 5 & 6)
In the scientific world, every experiment starts with a scientific idea known as a hypothesis. This hypothesis is what the scientist believes will most likely take place when their idea is put to the test. This idea is then tested thoroughly and a conclusion eventually results. The scientist’s conclusion is not based on what they believe, but in the proof or evidence they have obtained.
God does not want us as believers in Him to rely on proof or evidence of His character or power to perform that which He has spoken. He wants us to have faith in Him and believe in His Word
Jesus wants us to have faith that believes without seeing.
When some of the disciples proclaimed that they had seen Jesus after His resurrection from the dead, Thomas would not believe. He said; “unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe”.(John 20:25)
Tempting or testing the Lord Is a manifestation of unbelief. Like Thomas we are effectively saying: “prove yourself first, then I’ll believe.”
Eight days later, when Jesus appeared again He said to Thomas; “’Reach your finger here, and look at My hands, and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:27–29).
Unbelief Leads to Sin and Rebellion
The Israelites did not always trust or obey God, because they did not always believe Him. Therefore they tested the lord because of their unbelief and did not enter into the promises that God had for them. Their problem was their unbelief!
The Lord said to Moses: “Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (Numbers 14:22 & 23).
“For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”.(Hebrews 3:16-19)
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me'”.(Hebrews 3:7-9)
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”.(Hebrews 3:12)
- God warns us severely against unbelief.
- An unbelieving heart is a hardened and evil heart.
- Unbelief leads to rebellion and disobedience, and causes us to depart from the will of the living God.
- We will not enter into the promises of God while walking in unbelief.
Faith That Pleases God
The bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God”.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.(Hebrews 11:6)
It is not just our obedience that pleases the Lord, it is our faith!
When we have faith in what god is saying to us, our obedience will naturally follow.
In the book of Malachi God told the Israelites to test Him. The Hebrew word for ‘test’ here is ‘bachan’, meaning ‘to try; prove; examine; tempt or trial’ (Strong’s Concordance).
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this’ (try me or prove me), says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land, says the Lord Almighty”.(Malachi 3:10-12, NIV)
This was not man asking God to prove His character or power. This was God testing man’s faith, saying to the Israelites: “Trust me! Do this and I will come through for you!” God was reassuring them once again that He is faithful to all of His promises. The testing of our faith that we see here, by choosing to put our trust in God and to obey His word, is quite different to a wrong testing of God’s character and power out of unbelief, when we disobey Him and choose to trust in ourselves.
- We can have full confidence when trusting in God’s Word.
- When we believe in God’s Word and do what He says, He will do what He said he will do!
Complaining Destroys the Works of the Lord
The Apostle Paul also adds: “Nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Corinthians 10:10).
On their journey to the Promised Land the Israelites complained many times, about the Lord, and their leaders, Moses and Aaron. Their complaining angered the Lord and caused destruction to come into their midst. When we complain, we also open the door to our enemy the destroyer. We cause the very thing that God wants to accomplish in and through our lives to be destroyed.
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp”.(Numbers 11:1)
The Israelites even blamed Moses, when the consequences they experienced were a direct result of having complained before. But Moses and Aaron intervened by making atonement for the Israelite’s sin on their behalf.
“On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron saying, ‘You have killed the people of the Lord”.(Numbers 16:41)
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.’ And they fell on their faces. So Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.’ Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped”.(Numbers 16:44-48)
Complaining is Unbelief
A happy heart is a faith-filled heart that will not be moved! A complaining heart is an unbelieving heart, unstable in all of its ways! When we complain against the Lord it shows we do not really trust in the Lord.
Complaining is an indication that we are not truly committed to God’s purposes, being done in God’s way.
Jesus did not promise that as Christians we would live a charmed or wonderful life. On the contrary He warned us, that if we followed Him then we would have trouble. The encouragement Christ gives us is to know that He has already overcome this world with its challenges and that He is always going to be with us, working on our behalf.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.(John 16:33)
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen”.(Matthew 28:20)
The Apostle Paul suffered many trials, but he continued pursuing the purposes of God. “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28).
The Apostle Paul also made an amazing statement. The key he had found in all of these trials was to lean on the strength of the Lord.
“I know how to be abased (to be humble), and I know how to abound (have abundance). Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me”.(Philippians 4:12 & 13)
Complaining is Unthankfulness
Grumbling or complaining is also an outward manifestation of a lack of thankfulness toward God and His ways. It is the rejection of, or lack of acknowledgment of the provisions of God! When we choose to complain, we are manifesting a wrong belief that we are entitled to have things work according to our own plans. But God has already promised us that He will provide for every need that pertains to life, but He also tells us, that His ways are different to our ways.
The Apostle Peter said: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him Who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
The Apostle Paul declared: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”.(Isaiah 55:8 & 9)
Complaining is dangerous because like fear and unbelief, it is infectious to those who are around us. Complaining feeds a harmful deception, that there is a lack of purpose and provision from God. When this wrong attitude of unthankfulness and complaining comes out of our mouths, we set ourselves up in opposition to God.
Complaining undermines and blocks the purposes of God.
Thankfulness Releases the Provisions of God
God has called us to be a people of faith and of power, not of weakness and unbelief. He asks us each day to make a right choice. He asks us to shine as lights and examples to the rest of the world.
“For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life”.(Philippians 2:13-16)
Thankfulness is an attitude – and every attitude is a choice!
When we are deliberately thankful, we are choosing to firmly set ourselves in a stance of faith before others and before the Lord. When we stand with the Lord in that place of thankfulness and faith, we release the doors of heaven to open on our behalf to release more of the very thing we are thankful for.
Thankfulness is not just a nice idea. It is a legitimate action of faith that releases the power and provision from god to invade!
Thankfulness is spiritual warfare!
Prayer of Repentance:
“Lord I come to You today in repentance for the times that I have put You to the test in a wrong way. I repent of the times I have complained or murmured against You or those you have placed in authority. I repent of all unbelief, all lack of thankfulness, and for the times I have not recognized the provisions You have already made. Please forgive me for grieving Your heart.
Today I choose to trust in You and I ask You to minister to the source of any unbelief that I have held in my heart concerning Your promises. This day I choose to stand in a place of thankfulness and faith, and obedience to Your word. I trust as I do this, that You will open up the flood gates of heaven, releasing Your spirit of power and provision on my behalf, invading all of my circumstances and all of my needs. Thank You that You are with me, even to the end of the age. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”