There is one theme which pervades the whole Bible. It can be found saturating
every sentence and is the main point of every one of its 66 books. As we read
the stories of the Old and New Testaments and follow the warnings and pleadings
of Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles, One Thing is shown as the
ultimate aim of it all, namely, the Glory of God.
Nothing higher than this is sought by God in the lives of His people. And the people of God had no higher appeal in their prayers. From cover to cover the Bible declares that God's highest zeal or His strongest feeling is for His glory. He is jealous for His glory.
When God corrects His people through the Prophets He warns that He will not
stand for any one else to have the affections, grattitude and praise that is
due to Him alone. He will be loved and treasured for who He is and He will
recieve all the honor and gladness for being their all in all.
He is their God and their life. He made them, He saved them out of Egypt with His might and His power and His great love. And He wills that they; see Him as such, honor Him as such and trust Him to continue to be all that they will ever need.
This passion God has is seen in the Exodus when God has brought His people out of Egypt with Judgements so powerful so shocking that the Egyptians begged them to get out of their land and sent them out with great possesions. But when the time comes to enter the promised land, the people listen to the spies who say that it will be too hard, and they all weep.
Then it says in Numbers 14 vs 2,
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? 12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
What angered God was their refusual to believe in Such a Great being as God is even after they had seen wonders and judgements that were so spectacular that the fame of them has gone throughout the whole world. God is offended because His honor is being belittled. Their fear is a dishonor to God and makes Him out to be unkind and ill-intentioned and no greater than the Anakites.
And to see further that God's name or His glory is what is at stake here, listen to Moses' prayer to God for Israel.
And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) 14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. 17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
Moses does not so much plead mercy for the people for their own sakes, as he pleads that God would not let His great Name be dishonored among the people of Cannan, who have already begun to hear about His great power and glory.
This is how God responds to Moses' prayer,
And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: 24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
God had shown His glory, His grace, His power, His kindness and unstopable might to the people. Yet they refused to respond properly to such a being as this. Instead of being overwhellmed with unshakable faith in such an all-powerful God, they doubted His goodness and ability. This greatly angered God because it greatly DISHONORED God.
God's nature and attributes are revealed to us as we read this story. We see that God is a God who takes His glory seriously, to the point of wiping out the Nation. The seriousness of this matter is shown in that, the action God takes in response to His Name being dishonored, was to cause these people to wander in the wilderness until they all died, and they did not enter the land. Thus God's heart is shown in His acts, and His acts reveal a zeal and jealousy for His own renown, honor and glory in the earth.
If the purpose of the Bible is to reveal God, and it is. Then when we read about God in the Bible we need to pay earnest attention to what God is like. We need to watch how He speaks and how He acts. We need to take note of the context of His actions and words that we might understand why or what circumstances God is acting in, and to whom He is speaking?
God's Character or His heart is revealed in His word. And His word reveals that His motivation in what He says and does is to bring about the revelation and corresponding awe of His infinite perfections in all the peoples of the earth.
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