Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; and you complained in your tents, and said, “Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” (Deuteronomy 1:26-27)
Murmuring against the purposes of God never ends well. That much is obvious. The people went into their tents and said these awful things, not to God or to Moses, but to each other, thus feeding the emotional frenzy. But let’s also consider what may have led to such murmuring. Notice the statement they made one to another: “The LORD hates us and has brought out here to destroy us.” Another way of putting this would be to say, “God redeemed us from Egyptian bondage, parted the Red Sea, fed us with manna and visited us at Mount Sinai just so He could kill us in the desert.” If you look at it that way, their overly emotional statement doesn’t make sense. Yet it does reveal their view of the Creator: they see Him as a harsh and ruthless God — a destroyer rather than a restorer.
This is obviously fueled by their fear of the giants and great cities, nevertheless, their fear leads them to a faulty conclusion about the God of Israel. They see Him one way, which is to say, their way and not the right way. This is of interest to us because, even today, there are those among God’s servants who see Him as ruthless. While it is true that He judges iniquity, He is more inclined to restore those who are repentant. So if we consider that people often accuse others or what they are actually guilty of, is it possible that some see God as ruthless because they are the ruthless and harsh ones? They hide away and “murmur in their tents” causing strife and division. In short, because their perspective of God is faulty, they do not truly respect His authority.
There is a parable that, in my view, connects to this notion. The parable is about a nobleman who gave resources to his servants with which they were to work on his behalf while he was away on a journey. When he returned he found that one “wicked servant” had done nothing with the resources but had hidden it away in a handkerchief. Why? Because, in his words, “I feared you, because you are a harsh man.” Because of His faulty perception of His Master, he refused to do what His Master had given him to do. And so what can we learn from this?
First of all, God always finishes what He starts, and by that I mean, He has not brought you to this point — as difficult as it might be — to dump you off and have you fend for yourself. He didn’t redeem you “from Egypt” to kill you in the wilderness. While we are in the wilderness and experiencing the difficulties it presents, it is important that we don’t give in to our emotions — they will deceive us and tell us that God doesn’t care. Moreover, our emotions could convince us, if we’re not careful, that He is harsh, cruel and inconsiderate, thus, convincing us to stop doing what He has called us to do. We cannot let that happen because God is good all the time — even in the bad times. Therefore, we must learn to overcome our emotions and be “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Yeshua the Messiah” (Philippians 1:6).
Blessings and Shalom,