Moses wrote down their starting point at the command of the Lord. Numbers 33 states that they started out with boldness, right after Passover. The Lord had just executed judgment on the gods of the Egyptians. That was the starting point, the tearing down of false gods.
It’s a little sad and discouraging reading how the Israelites walk away from the destroyed false gods and walk away with boldness. It’s sad because I know what comes next.
Even just reading to the end of the chapter, there is a foreshadowing of what’s to come. God has prepared a place for them. And they aren’t going to make it there.
God, who fathered them, who loves them, who has hopes and plans for them, has prepared a perfect home for them, and they don’t go. Instead, they complain. Instead, they choose other gods to follow. Instead, they want to be their own gods and decide what’s best for themselves. And they choose to not enter the Promised Land.
Jesus has gone to prepare a place for God’s children. Many are called. Many are invited. Few will enter into the Promised Land, a perfect place of love.
Why? Why would people reject God’s love? Why would they reject God’s offer of full, abundant, perfect life?
The same reasons. They complain. They choose to follow after other gods driven by the lusts of the flesh, the desire of their eyes. They want to be their own gods and make their own decisions about what’s best for themselves.
Why? Why would they do all those things? There’s only one reason as far as I can tell. Unbelief. They don’t really believe God exists or that He is who He says He is.
If you can’t trust God to save you here and now and be your loving Father today, I don’t see how you can have faith that He’ll save you in the end and receive you into His loving arms forever.
And the perfect gift of Jesus Christ is rejected. His blood is trampled, His sacrifice in vain to so many lives.
So, why do we try? Why do we evangelize when they will just reject Him? It’s not because of their need for Jesus. They need Him, but they’ve rejected Him. We share the gospel and surrender our lives to serve as Moses did because Jesus deserves the reward of His suffering. He loves them. He died for them. The Father’s heart aches for them. Our love for the Father and our understanding of Christ’s sacrifice is what drives us to reach out, to keep sharing, to keep loving.
May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering!