You don’t have to read the Bible for very long before you observe a predictable pattern that continues today. With some variations, the pattern usually progresses something like this:
- God’s people are in trouble in some way.
- God rescues them in some way (often a miraculous way, to preclude any doubt that God was the rescuer).
- God’s people initially respond with gratitude, worship, and promises to love Him more.
- God’s people quickly forget what God has done.
- God’s people become ungrateful.
- God’s people turn their worship to other things.
- Worship of things other than God (also called idolatry) leads God’s people into more trouble – either God’s judgment for their sin or just natural consequences of their sin.
- God’s people beg for God’s mercy and the cycle begins again.
Remember Numbers 15:39? We are ALL inclined to “whore after” our own heart and our own eyes. This warning was not randomly placed at the end of Numbers 15 for no reason. Remember the rebellion Korah led in Numbers 16? Korah said to God’s chosen leaders, “why do we have to follow you?” God responded to this rebellion with severe judgment, but instead of learning their lesson, God’s people complained again to Moses and Aaron that they “killed the people of the Lord.” (Numbers 16:41) This is simple rebellion and jealousy. The people have already forgotten God’s nature and character and are “whoring after” their own heart and eyes.
In response to their sin and disobedience, the Lord proposes the object lesson in Numbers 17. Notice the response of the people when God again miraculously reveals Aaron as His chosen mediator.
Read John 14:6. God has revealed his ultimate, perfect mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ. And, in response, many complain, “why do we have to follow Him? Aren’t there other ways.”
Remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you (and me, and everyone else) are inclined to whore after.