“And you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b
There are many people who do not believe this is true. Otherwise, why do they do what they do? So often sin is willingly entered into with the thought, “Who is going to know? Or, “How can this really hurt me? We hear about the Bill Clintons and the Eliot Spitzers of the world fairly frequently. We do not always know about those whose notoriety is not of such company; but their number is, nevertheless, legion. Most of us can count ourselves among them. Notoriety or not, our sin hurts someone, and if we ever think about who it hurts, especially when it is exposed, we do not always include the One who leads the list: the Lord Himself.
This verse has been hidden in my memory from a very young age. Unfortunately, its truth with its warning of consequence was not always foremost in my mind. The context is illustrative of similar situations in which we find ourselves today. Read Numbers 32 and consider the request to Moses of two of the twelve tribes of Israel: Reuben and Gad. The Israelites were still on the wilderness side of Jordan preparing to enter and subdue the “Promised Land of Canaan as God had commanded. The Reubenites and the Gadites greatly desired the land this side of Canaan for their herds and flocks, their wives and children; a land which in essence was already conquered. It afforded them immediate gratification, and hopefully, they thought, no need to pursue the hard work of taking Canaan by force. Basically the lust of their eyes had taken their hearts desire away from the Lord’s “Promised Land. “A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. Moses was not pleased with their request anymore than he was with the bad report of ten of the twelve spies who had reconnoitered the land of Canaan, including representatives from these two tribes. Only Caleb and Joshua brought a report that pleased the Lord, because it was in agreement with His revealed will.
Moses conceded to the request only when he secured the promise of the participation of Reuben’s and Gad’s fighting men in the herculean task set before the whole nation of Israel. But his warning to them includes the verse, “be sure your sin will find you out if you do not do what you have promised before the Lord, and complete the work to its full satisfaction.
It is no different with the believer or even the unbeliever. Unbelievers enter into trusts with a person or people to whom they make a promise of fidelity and honor, such as the two notorious individuals above. The believer enters into an agreement to serve the Lord with his whole heart. If the promise is betrayed God says, believer or unbeliever, “you may be sure your sin will find you out. It is a given in the world in which we live, a world created and ruled by its Creator. You may not believe it; the exposure or the consequence may not be immediate; it may linger for some time; but it is inevitable. And believe it or not, God proves it over and over again.
We may be genuinely shocked by the suggestions that enter into our minds, especially if we are not convinced of the depravity of the heart of man; but we will not act on them, if we are convinced of the truth of this verse and the pain and shame we bring on the Lord Himself. Joseph exclaimed in his heart when under the severest of temptations, “How can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? The hurt and shame to others is severe enough, but even it is not nearly so powerful an antidote as to understand the fear of the Lord and see Him with the eyes of your heart.
“Heavenly Father, before I act upon an urge to sin or the lust of my eyes, remind me that Your eyes are upon my every step, and I cannot flee from Your presence; nor, if I sin, the inevitable consequence of it.
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