By Kelli Campbell
“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” Numbers 14:11
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12
The second thing I noticed while studying the children of Israel was their unbelief. How could the children of Israel not believe God? They followed God in a cloud by day and fire by night. They saw the Red Sea part and walked on dry ground to the other side. God fed them, kept their clothes from wearing out and countless other miracles. He gave them the Ten Commandments. God showed them His wrath for their disobedience and complaining. He swallowed up the people of Korah for the evil they did against Moses and against God. How could they possibly not believe God?
Unbelief is a big, big deal to God! Not an unbelief that He exists but the unbelief in His Word and His promises.
If you believe in someone, you have faith in them. Faith is complete trust, confidence, conviction and belief. Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. The Lord our God created the children of Israel! He delivered them out of bondage, in Egypt. He promised to be their God and to give them the Promised Land. God showed the children of Israel they could trust and believe Him in so many ways. How could they, His creation, not believe Him?
The children of Israel were never supposed to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. God sent men to spy out the Promised Land. The spies were gone for 40 days. When the spies returned, 2 gave good reports and the rest gave evil reports. They chose to not believe the 2 good reports and became fearful because of the evil reports. Their unbelief is why God is so angry in Numbers 14:11. God had done so many things for them and now they do not believe God can give them the Promised Land because there were giants in the land. God is bigger than any giant. He created the giants and put them on that piece of land. It was no surprise. God told them in verse 34, “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” God let them wander in the wilderness for 40 years for the sin of their unbelief! That is a long, long time! I think God takes unbelief very seriously!
Numbers 14:35 says, “I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.” God took this very personally! God called them evil. He said they are gathered against Him. Their unbelief caused many of the children of Israel not to enter the Promised Land and to die in the wilderness.
Even Moses and Aaron were banned from entering the Promised Land for their unbelief. Numbers 20:12, “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
We wonder how the children of Israel could not believe God, yet, we, as Christians, commit the same, exact unbelief! I know I have failed to believe God on many occasions. If you are honest, you will admit you have failed to believe God too! If Moses, the greatest leader in the Bible failed to believe God, I believe we can be guilty too.
Usually, my unbelief, like the children of Israel, stems from fear. Fear is my biggest besetting sin. Fear is caused by the unbelief that God can take care of us in any situation. Our fear is a slap in the face to God. He promises to take care of us and tells us not to worry but yet we do not trust and believe Him and continue to live with worry and fear because we do not know how it is all going to turn out. I do not want God to be angry with me and withhold the good things He has in store for me because of my fear and unbelief. He does give us strength and grace to handle whatever trials come our way. I pray every day that God would help me to have the faith that He wants me to have and to not fear. I do not know how all of my trials are going to end or if they will end. All God wants is for me to believe and trust Him. We need to let Him take care of all the details.
Not spending time with God in prayer and in His Word, the Bible will cause unbelief. How can you believe someone if you do not know them? To trust, have faith and believe in someone we must know them. To know them you must spend time with them. There is no better way to spend time than to spend it with The Lord our God. We can trust and believe what He says.
If you do not believe, you will not obey. We are all guilty of wanting our own way just like the children of Israel. Unbelief separates us from a loving God. God promises many wonderful things to those who obey His commands. I want those wonderful promises for me, my husband, and my children.
God is a jealous God. He loves us so much! He loves to show us that He is God by His signs, wonders and miracles everyday. We need to notice them, thank God for them, remember them, tell others the great things God has done for us. I need my miracles to continue. Do not treat them lightly.
I have spent more time studying, reading and rereading this subject, and meditating on how this applies to me more than anything I have written so far. I know I am guilty of unbelief but I do not want to have an evil heart of unbelief ever again. I need God to do big miracles. I am praying for God to do big things! I do not want to limit Him by my unbelief. Wandering in the wilderness does not sound fun. How thankful I am for God’s great mercy, forgiveness, longsuffering and His grace!