Written by Nicasius Kamani

SERIES: CHARACTER CHANGE
Part 4: The Three Character Traits the Lord Hates

Introduction

The Israelites were barely in the desert for a few weeks. They now stood at the edge of the Promised Land—at the edge of a great victory. It was clear that God was about to give them rest.

The historic exploration of the land of Canaan had just taken place. God and his people were anxiously waiting to hear what the spies would say. After forty days they came back home, and gave their report. The report from the twelve was varied: two of them saw a land that flows with milk and honey; the rest saw a land that devours those who live in it! God wasn’t surprised by what the ten men observed. Ever since the Israelites left Egypt, they had grumbled and complained to Moses (and to God) over the smallest of needs that seemed unmet.

It is startling how quickly they had forgotten the great deliverance that God had demonstrated to them since leaving the land of slavery, Egypt. Think about it: they had already forgotten the ten plagues suffered by the Egyptians as Pharaoh disregarded God’s pleas to let his people free. They had forgotten the dramatic crossing of the red sea, and the drowning of Pharaoh’s armies in the Red Sea. They had forgotten the pillar of cloud that led them by day and a pillar of fire that guided them by night, besides other miraculous deeds of God.

Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies stood their ground and told the masses that God was with them and that they could defeat the inhabitants of Canaan, as long as they faithfully held onto God. Joshua actually said: “If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:8-9)

This statement and conviction from Joshua and Caleb that was borne out of a deep understanding of God did upset many people and they were nearly going to be stoned. But the two did not give in. They were brave because they were fully persuaded that God was with them. They trusted in the one who never forsakes his own.

From time to time, God will bring us to the edge of the ‘Promised Land’ in different ways, according to his divine wisdom. He doesthis to test our character, in order to refine it. If we let him, he accomplishes a beautiful job of molding us in the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ. He prunes in us certain character traits that hinder us from entering the land of promise—a state of sheer joy and fulfillment that he desiresus to experience here on earth.

God is upset by certain character traits in the lives of Christians. He detests it when we doubt his providence. He gets really angry when we sideline his power and love and blessings. He calls us to open our eyes and see that which he has been doing in our own life and in the lives of other people. If only we took stock of these things, we would be amazed at his ever-present goodness.

From this single encounter, we will pick out three things that God detests in our character.

1) God Is Upset When We Treat Him with Contempt

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:1-4)

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? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them. (Numbers 14:11-12)

God hates it when we show contempt to him by refusing to believe in him, in spite of all he has done for us.His nature is such that he cannot lie; he means every word that he speaks.

I once came across a man who showed a lot of contempt to me. I was working in a small-sized architectural firm that had three architects. The firm was commissioned to design fourASK show stands in major towns of Kenya. Thereafter, we sought bids to procure a suitable contractor to construct the Nakuru show stand. A certain construction company won the bid and got awarded the contract. The director of this company would of course frequent our offices to acquaint himself with the project. After making several visits to our offices, I noticed that this guy would not talk to me, not even shake my hand. And he made it very clear that he had no business, no time for me.  In his estimations, I was too small for him; I had nothing to offer him.

However, when the actual construction work started, I happened to be the one in-charge of that particular project. This required me to manage the entire building team—including the affairs of the contractor. When the gentleman learnt of my role in the project, he began to warm up to me… He realized that if he was going to continue ignoring me, he would be doing it at his own cost! I felt despised and loathed by his attitude towards me. If I was the one with the final say, I would have frustrated the efforts of this fellow! I would have proven my worth to him.

That is exactly how God feels when we show contempt to him. He’s like, “What! You mean you will not take my word and my promises seriously? Despite what you have seen, you mean you will not put your trust in me?”When we show contempt to God, we treat him as onenot important. We fail to take him seriously. We treat him as one playing an insignificant role in our lives.And it hurts God! We ignore him, until for some of us we come to a realization that “Wow… you mean the one behind the entire project of my life was really God.” Then we try to make amends.

For others, we show contempt to God in various ways today. Here are two such ways:

By Disregarding God’s Power: We complainand grumble over every little things. We forget that he is the one behind our whole story, and behind our whole life. We forget that God knows exactly where we are headed. And it is him alone who determinesthe course of our lives every day.

By Giving God Second-Rate Services: We get the very best for ourselves and forget that God needs to be honored too. On numerous occasions, we buy for ourselves ‘designers clothes’ and buy Jesus a ‘mitumba from Gikomba’. For example: If we are storing up riches for yourself and find it extremely difficult to even give back in tithes to God, in order to  support the work of his gospel, then we are treating him with contempt. If we are more organized, more urgent, more committed, more careful, and keener with the things that give us immediate gains compared to the things of God, then we treat him contemptuously.

Our resolve should be one: that God will get the very best from us. God’s verdict to those Israelites was this, “I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them.” (Numbers 14:12)

2) God Is Upset When We Try To Instruct Him

Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, `The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.’(Numbers 14:13-16)

The thinking that God might be proven to be a liar or a failure in his own creation is insinuated by Satan. Mosses seemed to have taken that path in this particular passage of scripture. This reasoning ignores the part that man plays in our lives, but instead focuses on the part that God plays. It is a dangerous discourse to take because it is hollow in the end. It presumes that God being who he is has all power to make it happen that way, even against our free will. That would simply contravene many other scriptures…

We are usually quick to tell God that if he changed our circumstances, we would be better servants and subjects of his Kingdom. We tell him that had he blessed us some more, the world would take note and flock to his Kingdom. We remind him to answer all our prayers word by word for the gospel to advance…and so on.

This is erroneous because God doesn’t need man’s approval to feel that he is truly God. Besides, God’s determined things such as positions, the amount of blessings, and the number of answered prayers, are allexactly right. God in his wisdom knows precisely where we all should be in his vast creation.

Could this be just the reason why we don’t see and acknowledge God’s blessing? Could it be the reason why we don’t seem to‘have enough’? It is not that we aren’t blessed—it is that we are very busy instructing God on the type, and size, and nature, and place, and the timing of the blessing. And God is saying, “Open your eyes son… open your eyes daughter, and enjoy the blessings and the riches that I have for you in this life”.

This has made many of us look for short-cuts in life. And with short cuts weend up piercing ourselves with many griefs. Let us remember that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

3) God Is Upset When We Try To Blame Him

After the Israelites continued with their complaint, God made a stern response. Here is what he said:

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, `As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall–every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.(Numbers 14:26-29)

We need to be very careful about the things we both loudly and quietly utter.The things that we complain about: “Oh I don’t have money to help myself.” Or, “Well I don’t get paid what I am worth over here”. Why don’t you try getting a better paying job, if it all depends on you…I have heard others say, “You cannot get a loving, caring and faithful spouse these days”.

Let us be very careful what we say.

Who determines what is enough? Tell me if you know!Ourselves?Our friends?Our colleagues?Our family members?The world?Haven’t you figured out that the world will always tell us that we don’t have enough?And that we don’t have what it takes to be a mover and a shaker? And so we work ourselves to an early grave, only to leave it all behind.

God told the Israelites that “As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say…”And he gave a very disturbing prescription of his intents: “Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.”

This is how God deals with us, even today. He will do to us the very things he has heard us say. Do you know why he will do this? Here are a few reasons:

First, a complaint that is prompted by our circumstances is simply baseless before God in the light of eternity. Those circumstances have no place and no significance in the greater plan of God. Over time, it becomes evident that God so wisely crafted these situations to build us up.

Second, God has already figured it all out for me. He’s completely figured out even that seemingly complex financial, heath, social, academic problem that I will encounter next year, and the year after the next—and all those circumstances are in very safe hands.Oh! I am so glad that he is in control.

Third, God has already figured out all the circumstances that we don’t even bother ourselves with. For example: he has already figured out the man/woman who will succeed the next president, after the next, after the next… And he hasn’t consulted any human being, and he will consult none at all. And so whatever the outcome (or even if there won’t be an outcome, like is the situation in Ivory Coast at the moment), as God’s children, all we need to do is to say, “Thank you God for so wisely makingthe right choice for us”.

Lastly, let us know that the life we live does not depend on us, on our parents, on our income and investments. Yes, it does not depend on the government of the day. Instead, it fully depends on our heavenly Dad—the God Almighty. He is the one who takes care of you and me.

God hates it when we try to blame him!

Conclusion

Every time we are tempted to blame God, we need to do a very simple thing: Let us replace the statement “Oh my…” with “Thank you DAD”.

Let us be grateful to God for all he has done for us. Someone made a statement that really inspires me. And I quote it:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”      (Melody Beattie)

I want to train myself to be grateful to God for all he has done for me. And since God says that“I will do to you the very things I heard you say”, I want to loudly say that I am so grateful for all that he has done for me. I don’t know about you, but as for me and my household, the LORD has been so good to me. Amen.

CategoryInspirations
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