Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written,“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
In the desert, after being led out of Egypt, the Israelites encountered trials and temptations. There were arguments. There was difficulty. There was resistance to God and in turn he resisted the generation in the wilderness. This became such an issue, that it affected the Jewish people for centuries. It became a rallying cry for those following God—of what not to do.
They had to learn a lesson. Looking back, we can see that God told the Israelites he had a promised land for them. He had a destiny for them. This was after he brought them out of slavery through angelic supernatural deliverance. When he brought them out of Egypt, he set them free forever from their slave masters and made the poorest people in the world the richest people in the world in a moment. They plundered the Egyptians. They walked across the Red Sea on dry ground and the God swallowed up the Egyptian army. Then he fed with manna from heaven. No one got sick. The food was perfect. By day time, they had a cloud that covered them and provided what we would equate to air conditioning. A cloud of comfort to protect them from the hot sun. And by night a pillar of fire. But it didn’t sink in.
They come to the river of Jordan and twelve spies go into the promised land. This was just after they walked out of Egypt, plundered the wealth of a nation, watched the greatest army in the world be swallowed up by an ocean, survived the desert, ate supernatural food and were protected the whole time. Now they see giants and don’t believe any more. David understood keenly what they should have known after seeing God do all these things for them. He cries out:
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, “It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.” So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.” (Psalm 95:6-11)
If you are not careful you will let something very small keep you from very big. Unbelief steals our destiny. God calls that evil. God couldn’t believe that after all he had done for the Israelites that they said they couldn’t take the land. He told them they could do it through him.
Everyone struggles with unbelief. If you don’t believe you have unbelief, you have unbelief about your unbelief. We all wrestle with it, but we can press on. We can face the unbelief. In fact Timothy Keller says:
“A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”
If God calls you to do something, you can do it. His word never fails. Don’t allow the sin of unbelief to stop you. Remember:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)