How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. (Numbers 14:27)
That is the question isn’t it — how long will He bear with those who continually resist and walk contrary to Him? In this section of Scripture, it is mentioned that the children of Israel tested God ten times, this latest occurrence being the final straw it would seem. Because of Moses’ intercession, He did not destroy them immediately but He did determine that those who were of age and who had murmured against Him would die in the wilderness. In effect, God determined their fate to be as they had said — “if only we had died in this wilderness.”
In contrast, those they feared would die with them — their little ones — would be the generation to enter the land. And so it was that this generation — those that witnessed deliverance and redemption from Egypt — with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, were doomed to continually traverse the desert until they died. The tragedy is that God had shown them time and again that He was well able to finish the job He had started but, for some reason, they could not (or would not) believe.
This same level of disbelief is replayed centuries later when those who should have, could not (or would not) acknowledge Yeshua as the promised Messiah. At one point, the leaders of the day came to Yeshua demanding a sign from heaven as proof that He was the Messiah. In reality, He had already performed multiple signs that identified Him as Messiah but they would not believe. So in response to them He said, “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign (Matthew 16:3-4).
In other words, if a person can discern things in the natural, why can’t that same person discern things in the spiritual? The reason He gives is because, at least in this case, they were “wicked and adulterous.” Their hearts were inclined toward things other than God and, therefore, not ready to see and believe.
It would seem then that we must be careful not to let our hearts stray from God and His ways lest we become unable to discern what He is doing. Frankly, God is speaking loudly and quite clearly at this moment but so many are unable to hear or discern. And it is because, just as before, men have become wicked and adulterous, and a generation that is slow to believe God will do what He said He would do. Yes, He is long suffering and slow to anger but, as we see, there is a time when He grows weary of those who resist Him which prompts Him to say, “How long shall I bear with this evil generation?” Let us not be those who do so. Let us turn our hearts to Him completely and incline our ears to hear what He is saying and discern the signs that He sets before us.
Blessings and Shalom,