With the people no longer expecting to win (as explained in the previous blog post ‘Expectations’), what anguish it must have been for Moses and Aaron to witness the chaotic situation that was unfolding before them. In Numbers 14:5 we read, ‘then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly …’ (KJV). After, Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people not to rebel by reiterating the positive attributes of the land (Numbers 14:7). Joshua and Caleb also told the people ‘… the LORD is with us: fear them not’ (Numbers 14:9 KJV). But at this point having decided to do what they felt, now the people’s emotions were out of control.
At this point, the people had lost sight of the fear of the Lord, and anyone who dared to remind them of God’s leading became the recipient of their anger.
When we are dealing with irritating situations in our lives, for reasonable and rational behavior to prevail, we have to ‘pull back’ from the present situation and sometimes even take very deep breaths. During these times of testing, the Holy Spirit speaks to us and reminds us of whose we are and who we represent. This knowledge of God’s ownership of our lives is a constant reminder that we do not live for ourselves.
In Numbers 14:10, sadly we see that the people drifted from God’s ownership to ‘me’ ownership, resulting in the people wanting to stone Joshua and Caleb.
They were angry at anyone who tried to get in their way of putting plans in place to return from whence they came.
The resulting irrational thinking led to aggression with the intent to be destructive. At this point God intervened before any stones were hurled (Numbers 14:10).
Eventually after realizing that they were wrong, the people impulsively decided to go forward, though God told them not to go up. God wasn’t with them and they lost the battle (Numbers 14:44, 45). They went forward in self-confidence and presumption but not directed by God – a dangerous place to be.
God wants us to display an even-tempered attitude and be fully guided by Him. In the midst of a conflict, when tempted to do anything irrational, let us remember the account found in Numbers 14:8-9: ‘If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not’ (KJV).
The anger seems to result from the reality that things were not going as they planned, and the words were not what they wanted to hear. But we can learn from their account that maintaining confidence in God will help us not to lose our temper, because we know that God is in control and we have nothing to worry about. So as we go forward, we can:
- confront our fears in God’s power,
- have a correct view of the external,
- have a correct view of ourselves,
- embrace an optimistic and joyful attitude,
- take responsibility for our actions,
- let God be the leader of our lives,
- expect God to do in our lives what He has said that He would do, and
- maintain an even-tempered attitude, keep calm and utilize our energies productively.
Next blog post will be focused on Influence.