The Burden of Sin

“At that time I pleaded with the Lord. . .”Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan – that hill country and Lebanon.”

“But. . .the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough”, the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. . .” (Deut. 3:23, 25-26 NIV)

How great was this tragedy that Moses had brought upon himself. He had allowed the rants of his people to give rise to an uncharacteristic fit of anger, and perhaps a moment of prideful “I’ll show you a thing or two”.

At Horeb God had told Moses to ‘strike the rock’ with the rod by which the Red Sea had been parted, to bring forth the water for the querulous mob. (Ex. 17:6 NIV) This visually demonstrative action testified to the power God had trusted to him. This same rod or staff had been turned into a serpent at the burning bush and again in Pharaoh’s court. It had been held over the Nile to render her waters to blood and had been held high in Joshua’s battle against the Amalekites.

God had provided a rod for the babe of the faithful, but as that faith matures we depend more on words than rods. And now at Kadesh God has commanded Moses to simply speak to the rock. (Num. 20:8 NIV) But Moses is irritated, angry and hot with disappointment in the demands of  the people. Though he now led a younger generation they had to have known of the failures of their fathers and the ensuing thirty-eight years of wandering for their faithlessness. ” O faithless and perverse generation, how long must I put up with you?” They had witnessed the Shenikah go before them day and night all those years, their daily bread provided, sandals that never wore thin, battles they never lost, yet now they railed against him once again. “Put a coin in that slot machine you call God. I want it and I want it now!”

And so in his anger Moses disobeys God’s instruction. And in that instant all his dreams of a life in the land of milk and honey are dashed. The vision that had allured him all those years, from the burning bush til now disappeared like morning dew on a summer sunrise. Consequences – the burden of sin. Moses would be allowed to look, but he could not touch.

God forgave Moses his trespass just has He forgives yours and mine, but for Moses the consequences were tragic. Just as God forgave David his sin with Bathsheba, the consequences were to burden him all his days. God forgave Abraham and Sarah and fulfilled His promise of a lineage that would be His chosen nation, yet the consequences of the trespass with Hagar is with us still.

No one wakes up with sin on their itinerary. Sin comes on us unexpectedly. That may seem an obvious observation, but if so then we need to be prepared. Paul warned that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.

So we put on that whole armor of God. That suit of armor – the belt of truth (God’s truth, not man’s), the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and finally our only weapon of offense against those forces of evil, the holy word of God.

Be a Scout – Be prepared for those flaming arrows of the evil one. We reap what we have sown – though forgiven, there is suffering with sin.

May the Lord God abundantly bless you and yours, and may you be a blessing to someone else today.

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