The Lord said to Moses, 'How long will this people spurn me? And ho long will they not believe Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smit them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.' But Moses said to the lord, 'Then the Egyptians will hear of it...and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land.'" (Numbers 14:12-14, NASB95)
In this episode God makes an enticing promise to Moses to dispossess the Israelites and make a new nation out of Moses. Anyone would be flattered by such a proposition, and who would be so bold as to turn it down. After all, this is the Sovereign God Himself! If God wants to make a great nation of me, so be it!
But Moses challenges God on His proposition. I don't think this is disrespectful of God in any way. In fact, I think that the proposition was nothing more than a test for Moses, which he passed with flying colors! Moses, aware of God's promises to Abraham, knew that God could not "dispossess them" and fulfill His promises to them. By knowing God's Word, Moses passed God's test.
Would our arrogance or lack of knowledge of God's Word and God's promises cause us to fail such a test? I often hear preachers and parishioners talk of a "New Israel" which has replaced the old Israel. This new Israel is the "spiritual" Israel rather than the physical Israel. Such "spiritual" talk ignores the verbal promises of God to Abraham, and even Moses HImself would not entertain the thought of a new Israel!
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