Deuteronomy 1:26-27 – 26 “Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 And you murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
In Deuteronomy 1, the Lord, through Moses, is recounting the history of his relationship with national Israel from the days at Horeb until their then present moment at the borders of the promised land. Here, Moses is particularly recounting the rebellion of the people when they feared the Amorites more than the Lord. The people refused to trust that God could give them the land, they rejected the counsel of Joshua and Caleb, believed the negative counsel of the 10 spies, and would not go in to take possession of the land.
Moses tells us that, when the people feared the Amorites, , they murmured against the Lord, saying, “Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” Instead of taking the glorious victory that the Lord had promised them, instead of receiving his gracious promise of blessing, the people refused. But beyond their refusal, because they did not understand, because they were afraid, the people actually accused God of treating them hatefully. How terrible! The one true God, the Holy One, the One who led the people out of Egypt, the One who parted the Red Sea, the One who loved Israel time and time again did not hate his people.
I wonder how easy this mistake is for us to make. It is surely a failing of those who do not know God. When the lost read of the commands of God, they always accuse God of being hateful. They say that God’s standard for marriage, for sex, for gender, for justice, for salvation, and for many other things is hateful instead of glorious, good, and loving. This makes sense, as a sin-darkened mind cannot grasp the goodness of God.
But I wonder even more how often we do this. As a Christian, how do you react when God does things you do not understand? When God does not give you the job you want, the money you want, or the family you want, do you grumble? When God commands painful obedience, do you complain? Do you begin to read God’s commands as hating you instead of loving you simply because you cannot see his rationale?
Remember, we are finite. We cannot see the end from the beginning. And God is infinite, holy, knowing not only all the details of your life but of the lives of all forever. God has a plan. God accomplishes his will for his good pleasure. And God is good. He does not hate his own. He loves and shows mercy to us, even when we cannot grasp it in our finitude.
May we be wiser than the grumblers at the borders of Canaan. May we know that God loves us when we understand his ways and when we do not. Let us remember that God is always good and trustworthy, even when we fear and even when we hurt. God has proved his love with utter perfection in the sacrifice of Jesus. Now may we trust him.