Forgiveness and Consequences

Numbers 14_20_23_Forgiveness and Consequences

We’ve recently looked at the fallout of Israel’s choice not to enter the Promised Land when God had directed them to do so.  God was so displeased with them that He wanted to wipe them out and begin a new nation with Moses as the patriarch (Numbers 14:11-12).  Instead of jumping at the opportunity, Moses responded:

In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now (v.19).

God’s next words are what I want us to focus on today, for there are two very important truths within them:

The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth,  not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. (vv. 20-23)

God basically said, “Moses, I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is I’ve heard you, and because of your intercession on behalf of these yahoos, I’m going to spare them.  So they’ll get to live.  But, instead of going immediately into the Land I promised, you need to turn them around and head back out into the wilderness.”

Moses was on the doorstep of the Promised Land – but because of the other people – he would not get that opportunity.  This moment would impact Moses for the next 40 years.  Please don’t miss this; our disobedience and lack of faith impact others. 

We also see another important truth in this passage – “I have forgiven them, NEVERTHELESS…”  God pardoned, but there were still consequences; none of the generation who failed to believe God’s promise would see His Promised Land.  But the fact God allowed consequences did not negate His forgiveness.

Sometimes I think we mistake the presence of sin’s consequences as the absence of God’s forgiveness.  The two are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they frequently go together.

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About The Teachable Heart

A Teachable Heart, as described in Mark 4:20, is 'good soil' that hears and understands God's Word, accepts it as His revealed truth, and applies it to produce fruit. Learn more about the ministry at:
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