Two Great Events That Shape Your Life

Colin Smith
Colin Smith
2014 10 Jan

“You were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD... You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The LORD hates us...’ You did not trust in the LORD your God.”  Deuteronomy 1:26

I’d be asking, “Moses, how did ‘we’ refuse to go up?  I was 12 years old when that happened.  Our parents did this, not us!”  But Moses’ message is simple, “What was in your parents is in you.  You’ll face the same temptations.  What defeated them, you must overcome.  Change the future by owning the past.”  What’s the past you must overcome?

 Six Impulses That are in You by Nature

 1. By nature, I rebel against God

“You were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord...” (Deuteronomy 1:26)

Our corruption goes deeper than a few sins and mistakes.  By nature I resent God and resist His authority over my life.  By nature I want to assert my independence from God.  I want to be my own savior and my own lord.

2. By nature, I treat God with contempt

“The Lord hates us: so he brought us out of Egypt to... destroy us.” (Deuteronomy 1:27)

Sin so twisted them that God’s deliverance was seen as some kind of plot God was working against them.  They treated God’s grace with contempt.  By nature I hold back praise for God’s goodness and blame Him for evil.  By nature I say, “Here I am in a desert; its all God’s fault.”  By nature I insult God and treat His goodness with contempt.

3. By nature, I blame others

“Our brothers made us lose heart... saying ‘the people are stronger... than [us].’” (1:28)

When the spies returned from Canaan, ten of them said it would be too difficult to conquer the land.  So, the people said, “It’s all their fault.”  By nature, I blame others for my problems—I see a plank of wood in every eye, but not the speck of dust in my own.

4. By nature, I resist the truth

“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God who is going before you will fight for you as he did for you in Egypt...” (1:29-31)

Moses is pleading; “Don’t be afraid,” but it makes no difference.  God’s life-giving Word slides off them—like water off a duck’s back.  It doesn’t go in, “In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God” (1:32).  By nature I’m “always seeing but never perceiving; always hearing, but never understanding” (Mark 4:12).

5. By nature, I refuse to believe

“You did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you.” (1:32)

By nature I’m suspicious of God.  I hold back from Him.  God was with these people in a pillar of fire, and still they would not trust Him.  None of us is neutral when it comes to faith.  By nature I’m antagonistic towards God and unwilling to believe (John 5:40).

6. By nature, I am under the wrath of God

“When the Lord heard what you said, He was angry and solemnly swore: ‘Not a man of this evil generation will see the good land I swore to your forefathers.’” (1:34)

Moses is saying, “All that was in your parents, but don’t think it stopped with them.  All of this is also in you.”  By nature I’m alienated from God and under His wrath.  It makes you want to weep, doesn’t it?  This is the human condition.  This is what sin has done to us.  This is what we need saving from.  And it raises an obvious question...

What hope is there for you?

“The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.” Deuteronomy 5:2

“Moses, most of us weren’t even born!”  Yes, but when God came down at Sinai, He made a covenant with us, not with our fathers (5:3).  And God made a covenant of grace before you were born; it’s for you.  He’ll redeem sinners like us for Himself through His Son.  This covenant is not written on tablets of stone; it’s sealed in the blood of Christ. 

Two great events that shape your life happened before you were born—your nature goes back to the garden.  The grace that can be yours goes back to the cross.  Repentance begins by owning what’s mine by nature.  Faith begins by owning what’s mine by grace.

Will you receive what’s yours by grace or follow what’s in you by nature—following the impulse of unbelief, resisting God’s Word and treating HimGod with contempt?  Will you spend your life blaming others for your problems and end up under the wrath of God? 

Or will you embrace what God offers you?  The covenant He made in Christ before you were born.  Will you turn from unbelief, rebellion and pride?  Will you trust this Savior who loves you and gave Himself for you?

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This LifeKey is based on the message “Change the Future By Owning the Past,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered September 12, 2010, from the series “Take Two: The Power of a Fresh Start.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.