“We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents.” – 1 Corinthians 10:9 (AMP)
God’s Old Testament people were slaves in Egypt for more than 400 years. They were doing backbreaking work for Pharaoh and his kingdom. It was awful, and they hated it. They cried out to the Lord for deliverance … and deliverance finally came.
God raised up Moses to lead the people out of Egypt with great might and power. If the ten plagues were not enough, the parting of the Red Sea and drowning of the powerful Egyptian army were proof positive that God was among His people and for His people.
And God led the people out of Egypt so He could lead them in the Promised Land. But because of unbelief, they didn’t go into the land as God wanted them to. As a result of their disobedience, they wandered in the wilderness for forty long, hot, dry years.
It was in the wilderness that the people tempted God and tried His great patience. Can you imagine?
They were impatient with the trials of the wilderness wanderings and spoke against God and Moses in frustration and anger, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food [manna]” (Numbers 21:5).
The people grumbled, griped, complained and tried God’s patience … and, in response, God sent fiery serpents that bit and killed many of the grumblers. YIKES! Paul told the Corinthians to watch out that they did not fall into the same sin of tempting the Lord … and suffer the same killer consequences.
ARE WE GUILTY?
As I thought through this idea of becoming critical of the Lord and the way He does things in my life, I was convicted. How often do I get impatient with God because things aren’t going the way I want them to go… and doors are not opening fast enough … and God is not doing what I want Him to do. How easy it is for me to grumble, gripe and complain in the Lord’s hearing. May God have mercy!
Perhaps today you are frustrated with the Lord. Perhaps you are getting impatient with your journey and are beginning to critically appraise the Lord and His will and sovereign work in your life. Perhaps you are taking God to task for His apparent tardiness in answering your prayer or opening that door of opportunity. Be careful! The Bible makes it clear that it is a BIG sin to try the Lord’s patience. The children of Israel did it and died.
WAIT ON THE LORD
A good friend of mine shared a passage with me the other day from Psalm 27,“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:13-14).
My friend, God knows what He is doing. He is good to us even when He has us wander in the wilderness. So, make it your practice to:
1. Praise Him for the trials and the difficulty of the journey. He loves it when we choose to praise Him and thank Him, even when times are tough.
2. Trust Him to bring His goodness to you in due time. He has a wonderful plan for your life. You will see the goodness of it if you don’t grow weary and crumble in despair and unbelief.
3. Wait on Him. He does not work on your timetable, He works on His. Rest assured while you wait that He really is at work, even when it appears nothing is happening.
May we recognize those times when we are trying the Lord’s patience and immediately seek His forgiveness. May we walk by faith and not by sight, knowing that our Promised Land will come about in His perfect timing.
By Jeff Schreve