When there is the evident blessing of God in a situation, does that mean that God is pleased with the behaviour which has led to this blessing? You may immediately respond that , of course, He must be. You say this because if there is blessing he must be pleased with what has been done. But be careful, don’t be so hasty!
Numbers 20: 1-13 is a fascinating passage to consider in this context.
- vv1-5: Here we see the nation of Israel in the Desert of Zin with no water to drink. They are complaining against Moses and Aaron.
- vv6-8: Moses and Aaron come before the Lord. The Lord replied by telling Moses that if he took the staff and spoke to the rock in the presence of the congregation then water would flow out for the people and their livestock.
- vv9-11: Moses took the staff and addressed the people. Then he struck the rock with his staff twice. Water thence flowed out and they all drank.
- vv12-13: The LORD gives His verdict upon Moses and Aaron by saying that because they did not trust Him and honour Him before the Israelites, he would not bring them in to the land.
Consider for a moment what happened – the blessing of God flowed in that the water flowed to His needy people. However, Moses disobeyed the Lord, he struck the rock twice rather than speaking to it once. The unhappiness of the Lord with the behaviour of Moses and Aaron is seen in the fact that he prevented them from leading His people into the promised land.
This passage therefore, warns us about just assuming that all is well when we see God bringing blessing into a situation. The Lord in His sovereign grace can work anything at any time. Even at its basest level we know this to be true because so many around us give no acknowledgement of God and yet the Lord showers them with many blessings in terms of jobs, food, clothing and homes.
But on the spiritual level we need to be thoughtful about how we comment upon situations. There is a superficial response to situations which is so often prevalent among us. We see that God brings blessing into a church and we perceive that all must be well. We then embark upon following the ways of that church because we want the blessing. No, what we always should be doing is going to the Lord’s Word and checking that we are following His ways.
We need to be very thoughtful in this realm.