“How long will these people treat me with contempt? how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?” Numbers 14:11
Leave it to the Lord to get to the heart of the issue.
Israel felt contempt for their God.
Definition: “a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval.”
In the ESV the word “despise” is used.
Israel was dismissing God. They rebelled, whined and were sure that they could do a better job of managing themselves than He could.
We shake our heads.
But wait. Do we not do the same things?
Whenever we dismiss the signs of His goodness, faithfulness and work in life because we are too focused on the negative, are we not treating him with contempt by rendering him powerless?
Whenever we go on a pity party because God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to, are we not in danger of contempt by thinking we are more loving than He? More fair than He? More just than He?
When we read that God is a jealous god, that he displays righteous anger, that he deals with sin and pours out wrath, do we not sit in contemptable judgement on his character because he doesn’t react to life the way we think is appropriate?
As I pondered Israel’s contempt today, a still small voice spoke to my heart. “Do you not do the same things?”
Yes Lord, I have done the very same things.
I stand humbled by the words of Job:
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge? Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me’. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”