In the wilderness, the children of Israel daily saw the miraculous works of God. They were protected from the desert sun by the pillar of cloud and from the night chill by the pillar of fire. Food was given to them and their clothes and shoes did not wear out. They witnessed other miracles from time to time including one of the greatest miracles - the parting of the Red Sea. Yet all of this did not change their hearts.
“When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.” Heb. 3:9-11
God’s charge against them was that they did not know the ways of God. They only saw the works of God, but never understood what God was doing. Because they were introverted, they never saw the big picture. All they could see was one problem after another in an endless circle. The result was that they were always complaining and wanting to return to Egypt.
Christians who are complaining or whining about problems that come their way or who are always negatively comparing the present with the past are stuck in the mode of only knowing the works of God. They are focused on themselves and their own comfort. They will never know the rest of Christ. Their eyes are on the past so their future will never improve. This doesn’t mean they are not saved, but they are likely to die in the wilderness in discontent.
God is searching for people who will know His ways. He desires people who want to know Him. Like Joseph, they are willing to uncomplainingly go through slavery and prison to achieve the purpose of God. They are focused on others. They look to the future while appreciating the works of God in the past and present.
These people are dedicated, they are true disciples. Their goal is to be like the Master no matter what the cost. They will enter the rest of Christ for their confidence is in God, not the circumstances of their life. They know God is in control. They know God has a plan and they are part of it. These are the Caleb's and Joshua’s who will conquer new territory for Christ.
As we move through life, what kind of Christians are we? Are we only interested in the works of God to solve our personal problems? Do we view God as a Divine Santa Claus to met our every whim? Are we only interested in God as long as He is doing what we want Him to do?
Or are we pressing into know God and His ways. Do we realize that problems are allowed by God for our benefit and the benefit of others. Are we committed to being disciples regardless of the cost?
Think about it. You can die in the wilderness or you can enter the rest of Christ. Your choice. Choose wisely.