Numbers chapters 13 and 14 gives us an account of a really bad decision Israel made. God has just delivered them from Egypt and they are at the edge of the land that had been promised to them. This is what they’ve been waiting and praying for, but it doesn’t go so well.
God tells Moses to send out some scouts to look at the land and come back with a report. When they do, the majority of the men give a bad report that scares them and makes them choose not to go in. Their fear keeps them from receiving what God has already promised to give them.
Because of their choice of safety instead of obedience God allows them to wander in the desert for 40 years. Those who chose not to take God’s promise out of fear never got to see the land he had prepared for them.
Safety can be a false god
Idols or false gods are kind of tricky to catch and if you don’t know what you’re looking for they’ll sneak in without you even noticing. Idols or false gods are anything you worship,serve, love, or obey instead of the one true God. John Calvin once said that “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”
If you think back on the story I just mentioned, you will realize that safety was Israel’s false god in that moment. They believed that the best way to stay safe was not to go into the promised land, even if it meant disobeying Gd. They thought to not do anything, to stay put would eliminate risk, but the harsh reality is that this decision to risk nothing cost them everything!
False gods never keep their promise
They chose to worship the god of safety and not the one true God. Because their false god of safety promised them life. And in a sense like most idols, it did give them a momentary satisfaction because they didn’t have to step out in faith. And in a sense, they did get to keep theirs lives, but life in a barren desert not in the abundance of a land full of God’s blessings.
False gods can never come through. They make promises they can never keep. And if anything, they leave us worse than when we started.
This has been our downfall starting all the way from Adam and Eve. Our false god producing hearts keep trying to replace god with something else. For Adam and Eve, it was the pride of getting to be like God. For Israel, it was the desire for control and safety of their lives.we want to be in control. In control of our lives, family, possessions, etc. We think that to give up control is to lose our lives. This parable teaches us the opposite. True living, the gaining of our life is found when we give up control.
What about us? We want to be in control of our lives, family, possessions, etc. We want safety and comfort instead of stepping out in faith into the unknown.
The abundant life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10 only comes when God is seated on the throne of our hearts. We must recognize our idols and dethrone them. If we don’t they will keep us from the abundant life God has ready for us.