“And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust him or obey him” – Deuteronomy 9:23
It was a moment of decision. All of God’s promises were about to be fulfilled. Obedience was the only thing that was needed. He had guided them each step of the way, they had to keep following. And they didn’t.
My pastor often refers to the Kadesh Barnea’s in our lives – the moments of decisions where we choose whether to follow God. He pulls the reference from the time when the Israelites had to choose whether to go up and fight the occupants of the promised land, or whether they would let their fear prevent their obedience. They choose the latter, and were forced to endure many more years of suffering and defeat.
What I’ve rarely heard discussed is that the Israelites did go up and fight. After they said “no” then they said “yes” – and they were defeated. They tried to circumvent God’s punishment by doing what He said – just after the fact. They thought intentions were just as good as actions – and they were wrong.
I think we do the same thing. We are called to something, we say “no” and we realize that we’ve made a mistake. Instead of asking God what He wants us to do now we continue to try to find our own way, while ostensibly convincing ourselves that we are following Him. It rarely works. He calls us to act in a moment in time. Our job is to obey when we hear His voice. When we choose differently, our job is to seek His voice again – not to attempt to do it ourselves because our pride mingled with guilt convinces us that we can make it right.We can’t make it right. Only the One who sees the whole picture can.
It’s sometimes difficult to recognize when were at Kadesh Barnea. The Israelites had disobeyed before and sometimes God is His mercy withheld punishment. Kadesh Barnea, though, changed the course of history. That’s why it’s important to always seek His voice and to follow after His ways.