Trials. They are associated with hardship, pain, and trouble. They are the conglomeration of the disappointments and struggles in life. We think of trials as something we go through – testing that, once endured, makes us stronger or more spiritual. Trials weigh endurance, attitude, and character before a final verdict is given. They are far reaching, affecting others, often for generations, and touching God as well. How grievous when our time of trial become a trial to God.
That’s what happened with Israel. The discomforts, changes, and disappointments that Israel found trying spoke louder to them than the mighty miracles God performed. Their choices weighed heavy with complaint, inconsistencies revealing their poor character. And when the verdict was cast, they failed in God’s eyes.
An event that could have provoked Heaven’s a roar of applause, instead brought sadness to the heart of God. Each time His hand reached out to bless His people, it was slapped aside with indifference, fear, or ingratitude. Israel trampled on God‘s wonders, oblivious to His acts of love and mercy. Finally, God’s gavel banged decisively, “They shall not enter my rest.“ The promise God had graciously offered Israel’s exodus generation was withdrawn to be extended to their posterity.
While our eyebrows might lift and our heads wag at the way Israel handled their struggles, we fall into similar patterns of behavior that can turn our testing time into God-trials. The motivation is the same – failure to fully trust God. And the result is the same – inability to enter into God‘s rest.
Without faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, we cannot embrace the promise of salvation (Eph. 2:8). And without faith, we are not inheritors of the good things God has provided (Heb. 6:12; James 2:5).
Perhaps, like Israel, we escaped the clutches of slavery to sin only to lose our trust in God on the journey. When we relinquish our faith, we surrender to fear, anxiety, and depression that separate us from the peace and joy found in resting in God. Could we, like Israel, be robbing God of His delight? Could we be preventing His giving us the blessings He has labeled with our names? It is time to trust. Time to turn our trials into triumphs that bring rest to our souls and thrill the heart of God.
Tips/tidbits: Remember testing time is nothing more than a time for choice. Use it to bring a smile to the face of God and rest into your life.