REJECT GOD AT YOUR OWN PERIL!
17And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18'The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.' 19Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of Your steadfast love, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now." Numbers 14:13-19
Now many will say that generational curses do not apply anymore, since the Age of Grace. There is some validity to this. However, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap. The principle does not change. America’s great preacher of the 18th century – Jonathan Edwards’ descendants were college presidents, and pastors. There was even one Vice President of the United States in there. There is another prominent North Eastern American family, from the same state, whose patriarch was a notorious rum runner and manipulator and womanizer. A lot of his descendants became drug addicts, divorce-ridden multiple times and even dead at an early age. These are not generational curses but family traits. The son of one of the biggest atheists in America became a pastor....thereby showing the Sovereignty of God....and how He fits nobody's patterns or thoughts. This man's mother is Madelyn Murray O’Hair, the person who got prayer and the Bible out of American schools.
In this prayer above, Moses acknowledges the patient mercy, grace and long-suffering of the Lord. From our personal experience, we know God has been patient with us in all our stupidity and sin from the day we were born. Even when we continue to sin after we were born again, our Father Who art in Heaven, forgives and removes our sin from our record. Not so with the unsaved and especially those who have committed transgression and iniquity. Transgression and Iniquity are places no Christian would wish to go because they represent severely willful defiance of God.
We are all sinners saved by grace and will have a nature in us which continually misses the mark. This will decrease as we grow more mature in the Lord and will last with us throughout our lives on earth. Transgression, however, is crossing the line from trying to live right and sinning occasionally, to willfully disobeying God. Samson is good example. As a Nazarite, he was not supposed to be around any dead animal, drink alcohol, go near pagan women or allow his hair to be cut. He violated all of this.
Iniquity is the mother of all sin. It is as vile as King David willfully staying away from his duty and ogling his one of his Mighty Men - Uriah the Hittite’s wife – Bathsheba. This led to the culmination of years of ungodly lust for her, as he summoned her and they willingly had an affair. The affair then resulted in Bathsheba becoming pregnant. However, David went one step worse than crossing the line from Transgression. He committed premeditated murder of Bathsheba’s husband and his own friend, Uriah thereby breaking every single one of the Ten Commandments. This was his iniquity as it was unrepentant sin of the highest degree which he plotted and committed. It was cold, calculated sin (iniquity) and a slap in the Face of God, which took two years for him to be caught by the Prophet Nathan. It took two years for King David to repent before God.
The people under Moses’ care and leadership had reached that point (of no return) when they rejected the reports of Joshua and Caleb and sided with the other ten scouts who basically called God a liar. It was God Himself who had Moses send out the 12 tribe representatives to view and scout the Promised Land.
The rebellion against God was so evil that the people wanted to choose a leader who would lead them back to Egypt! That would be like God rescuing us from a sewer pit and then having tasted of His miracles and His goodness, we decided that we actually loved living like pigs in the muck, dirt and sewage rather than worship in the Freedom, Purity and Goodness of Almighty God. This is what the majority of the tribes did. When Joshua and Caleb spoke up to defend the Lord and tell of His Truth and the wonders of the Promised Land, the people tried to stone them.
For their rejection of the One True God, He wanted to wipe them out right then and there…and this is where the humble man of God – Moses, interceded once more. Here is where Moses also sought to maintain the reputation of the Lord, while attempting to save his people from destruction. He knew God was more than justified in wiping the memory of them off the earth and off His books, but Moses also knew the Egyptians will hear of about one million people dying in the desert at the Hands of “their God”. Because Moses sought no other purpose other than the Glory and Good Name of the Lord, God did not immediately destroy every person in that motley group of Israelites. God mentioned the ten times they rejected him and it was only then, that He decreed them wandering in the desert for forty years, after which every single adult except Joshua and Caleb over the age of 20 would die in the desert. To show His utter rejection of them as a people, He called their future perishing bodies “carcasses”!
What are the lessons for us today? First, simply put – we should never cross that line. When we were saved, God saved us from the Power of Sin, however the presence of sin still abounds. We see it everywhere. Scripture teaches us to "take every thought captive". When the devil puts a tempting thought to distract and divert us away from God, to sinful thoughts, we MUST eradicate it with the Power of the Holy Spirit and not dwell on it. Even good Christians have the potential to fall and fall hard if we do not run from sinful thoughts, but allow then to embed themselves in our consciousness and then develop into lustful fantasies which may or may not cross the line into active sin. God has created several firewalls before we even get to that point of transgression and pre-meditated commission of sin.
We must activate those firewalls by knowing the Scripture and how to beat back the lies of the devil with them. We must also run from sin and we should not worry about offending the person tempting you to sin. Worry more about offending God and bringing bad consequences of any potential actions. There is a reason the Bible tells us to “flee immorality” and “resist the devil and he will flee from you”. They work! The firewall against sin, transgression and iniquity is the Word of God and the willingness to follow what it says.
The second lesson is this – God WILL punish all who reject Him. He is patient and kind and will allow people to reject, blaspheme and ignore Him more than ten times. However they will pay the price. In fact, if you want to go back to the pit where you came from, God will allow your choice because He does not wish to coerce anyone to love and respect Him, who is not inclined that way. Hell is full, and will be replete with the majority of mankind from all eras, who have shaken their collective fists at God, shouting that He is "dead" or how much they "do not believe in Him". The Kingdom of Heaven remains open to all, who fear God, keep His commands and accept the Son - Jesus Christ - as Lord and master over all. This also has not changed and the free offer stands as long as there is time.
The third lesson is God is patient. While He can destroy anyone at anytime, He listens to prayer and the prayer of one of His most faithful servants - Moses. Abba Father still pay attention to the prayers of His saints and desires that none should perish but that all will come to repentance. The entire account from Numbers 13 and 14 about what led up to this prayer and God's angry reaction is symptomatic of life today. Christians and others are always asking "where is God while....X Y or Z is happening".... or "how long can the wicked reign..." and all its variations. His patience, grace and love should not be mistaken for weakness, because when He acts, it is always final and the results are devastating. The key is for the Faithful to remain faithful in prayer, supplication and obedience. The modus operandi for remaining in the good graces of God is finally, to keep short accounts with God and man; to walk the straight and narrow and to live a repentant lifestyle....not in fear, but out of love and respect for the One Who has saved us by His Grace.