THE SERVANT GENERAL
STUMBLING BLOCKS - 2
Yesterday (Holy Warriors - Part 38), we saw the need for purity
of heart, faith in trust in Jesus, humility, desiring the
good of others. Today we see all these virtues, not in the
leaders at the time (Pharisees and scribes), not among the
chosen people of God (Israelites), but in the lowly Canaanite
woman. Jesus ignored her (Mt 15:23), then brushed her aside
(Mt 15:24), then finally insulted her (Mt 15:26). But she
humbly persisted. “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!”
(Mt 15:22b). “Lord, help me.” (Mt 15:25b). “Please,
Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the
table of their masters.” (Mt 15:27). For that, she got
the nod of Jesus. “O woman, great is your faith! Let
it be done for you as you wish.” (Mt 15:28a).
we are a chosen people. We are not only the new Israel, but
we are given the privilege to serve the King and be at the
forefront of the spiritual war He wages. Unfortunately, we
are often the reason why we do not experience the full measure
of the Lord’s provision and power. We put stumbling
blocks along the way. Today, from the readings, we see more
fear of the enemy. Now we should not take the enemy for granted,
since indeed the devil is a very powerful foe, capable to
inflicting woe upon us. But we serve Jesus, the stronger man,
who has already bound Satan, the strong man. At times, facing
the enemy, we lose sight of this reality, and begin to hesitate,
even refuse to move forward. “We cannot attack these
people; they are too strong for us.” (Nm 13:31).
spreading such fear among God’s soldiers. The scouts,
except for Caleb and Joshua, “spread discouraging reports
among the Israelites” (Nm 13:32a). Perhaps in a desire
to justify our own fear, we contaminate others, we rally then
to our cause. We even exaggerate a bit in order to convince
them. “And all the people we saw there are huge. There
we saw the Nephilim; in our own eyes we seemed like mere grasshoppers”
(Nm 13:32c-33a). Who would not be discouraged by such a report?!
grumbling against the leadership. “All the Israelites
grumbled against Moses and Aaron” (Nm 14:2a). They started
blaming them. They were already anticipating the worst in
the situation. They even wished they were back to their sorry
lives of slavery in Egypt! “If only we had died in the
land of Egypt” (Nm 14:2b). They began to appreciate
not their present situation of freedom and coming entry into
the promised land, but the life they had left. “Would
it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Nm 14:3c).
Then they moved to the edge of outright rebellion. “Let
us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Nm 14:4).
Rather than these stumbling blocks, what must the attitude
of holy warriors be?
be not afraid. “You need not be afraid of the people
of the land, for they are but food for us!” (Nm 14:9b).
Joshua and Caleb knew the power of the Almighty, against whom
no earthly or spiritual power can withstand. “Their
protection has left them, but the Lord is with us. Do not
fear them.” (Nm 14:9c).
since it is God who calls us, chooses us, and sends us forth,
at the same time appointing leaders over His army, know then
that rebellion against the leadership is rebellion against
God. Joshua and Caleb saw that the discontent and brewing
rebellion of the people was not just against Moses and Aaron
but against God. “Only do not rebel against the Lord!”
in the face of challenges, threats, oppression, setbacks and
even defeats, never harden your heart against God and His
anointed leaders. Never close your mind to the realities of
God’s working among you. Such was not the attitude of
the Israelites. “The whole community threatened to stone
them.” (Nm 14:10a). Wow. The enemy was really able to
do his work. Not only were the people afraid, not only were
they becoming rebellious, but they would even assault their
own leaders, rather than assault the enemy! Unfortunately
that is what happens to many Christian groups and communities,
as they face the onslaught of the enemy within.
know that the Lord is kind and merciful, but is also just
and will hold us accountable for our sins. “The Lord
is slow to anger and abounding in kindness, forgiving iniquity
and rebellion; yet certainly not declaring the guilty guiltless”
(Nm 14:18a). The Lord gave the Israelites another chance,
despite their great sin. But He also punished them. That generation,
except for Joshua and Caleb and those less than twenty years
old, perished in the desert (Nm 14:29-30).
promised land or death in the desert? That should be no choice
at all. But many Christians today choose the latter. “We
have sinned like our ancestors; we have done wrong and are
guilty.” (Ps 106:6). How truly unfortunate.
Holy warriors are to do the opposite of what the Israelites
did in the desert. “Our ancestors in Egypt did not attend
to your wonders. They did not remember your manifold mercy;
they defied the Most High at the Red Sea. … But they
soon forgot all he had done; they had no patience for his
plan. In the desert they gave in to their cravings, tempted
God in the wasteland. … In the camp they challenged
Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord. … At Horeb
they fashioned a calf, worshiped a metal statue. … They
forgot the God who had saved them, who had done great deeds
in Egypt” (Ps 106:7,13-14,16,19,21).
are the opposites that holy warriors must do?
always in awe of God.
forget his goodness and mercy and all the blessings you
have received from His hands.
Never disobey God’s commands.
Be patient in carrying out the Lord’s works, wait
for His perfect timing, do not take matters into your own
Resist the allures of the flesh.
Be submitted to the leadership and do what they tell you
Do not fall into idolatry, which is having any person or
thing as a greater priority than God and His work.
Always be centered on Christ the Savior and Lord.
Do the above and expect God to use you as His holy warriors
in the strength of the Spirit. Our God is a God of power and
miracles. He parted the Red Sea (Ps 106:9) and defeated the
Egyptians for them (Ps 106:10-11).
this conviction: “If the Lord is pleased with us, he
will bring us in to this land and give it to us, a land which
flows with milk and honey.” (Nm 14:8). But never forget:
“Only do not rebel against the Lord!” (Nm 14:9a).