And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?
And [Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
God does not work in the midst of unbelief…
In today’s passage in Numbers, we read of the gross unbelief of the Israelites. Except for Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb… the rest of the people refused to trust in God’s promises, and therefore they disobeyed God’s good word. The consequences were severe… no one would enter the land – except Joshua and Caleb and the children. God promised that in a span of 40 years, everyone in the current generation would die.
The people, hearing the harsh judgment, immediately backtracked and made a half-hearted attempt to take the land. But God was not with them, and they were brutally defeated.
This is a hard lesson. God does not work in the midst of unbelief. If we are actively disobeying Him, can we expect Him to work in our lives?? Even Jesus, in the midst of his hometown rejection, could not perform the usual mighty display of miracles. His power was limited in the face of rejection.
Ultimately, God’s promises are always fulfilled. The people of the next generation inherited the land. But those who disobeyed missed the blessing! God will accomplish his good plans for the world – with or without us…
God, please help me to obey. Help me to trust in your good word, and give me the faith to choose your ways over my own desires and plans. Please God, don’t let me miss the blessing! Oh God… “I believe; help my unbelief!”