I don't know about you, but often, when I read Scripture, I find myself in awe of the humble, compassionate and God-honoring responses and behaviors of the saints of old. I am often moved to repent after being exposed to the glaring truth that I would have never said or done the same things. Then I pray that the Lord would give me a more Christ-glorifying and genuinely loving heart that seeks God's will to be done and His name to be exalted instead of mine.
This happened during my reading of the Word today. While I was reading in Numbers 14 (which I've read a million times before, but never saw it this way), I was stunned by verses 11-19 and my reading came to a screeching halt as I repented of the truth I was faced with: I would have never responded the same way if I were in Moses's sandals. If God would have told me He was fed up all the whining, complaining and rebellion of a group of people I was well-acquainted with and therefore was going to destroy them all and start all over with me and my family, I ashamedly must admit; I would have not interceded for them.
No, rather than intercede on behalf of a bunch of half-hearted, ungrateful, idolatrous and selfish people, I would have burst with joy that the Lord was going to relieve me of being in relationship with these people. Then I would've thanked God for honoring me and my family. I would be glad to be rid of people who meander towards obedience to the LORD. I would have been most thankful to no longer have to endure their petty arguments and concede to their weak human need to have some comforts in this world. Oh how delighted I would be if I were in Moses sandals! But thanks be to God that I was not, because that was most certainly not the most gracious, compassionate and Christ-like response.
Unlike me, Moses was not elated to find out he might finally be rid of these people who repeatedly grumbled against God and him. No, Moses held not grudges. Moses was not bitter. Moses did not seek to further his own kingdom, agenda or ministry. Moses didn't get lost in the doing of ministry so that he forgot the God and people He was called to love and serve. No, Moses remembered what Mary so tightly held onto in Luke 10:39. Moses lived at the foot of his Master, which kept him humble and consumed with God's glory and pleasure in all things.
Rather than feel honored that God would wipe out an entire group of people undeserving of God's grace, and start all over with him and his family, Moses lamented over the thought that God's name might be reviled. Rather than rejoice in self-exaltation, Moses' thoughts were only for God's glory. And that's where I need to always be.
So today, I'm thanking God for His mercy and grace upon me—an undeserving recipient of His love. I am often appalled when I read Old Testament accounts of Israel's rebellion against God, or even Eve's rebellion in a perfect world...literally. But when I survey that wondrous Cross in which my Savior died for me, all I can conclude is that if I were Eve I would've eaten of the forbidden fruit faster than she did. And if I were an Israelite, I wouldn't have vacillated between obedience to rebellion, I would've remained in the latter.
I am grateful that God is more compassionate than I. And I am grateful that in Christ, I can be all that God commands me to be.