Can You Calculate the Cost of Sin?
I’ve mentioned in a previous post how I find the book of Numbers to be a little challenging in trying to understand how God is working with His people. God takes some very harsh and serious actions against His people. I trust His character even when I don’t understand His actions. That’s how I navigate these difficult passages in my mind. One of those times is found in chapter 20 of Numbers. The people are complaining, again, about a lack of water. God tells Moses to take his rod and speak to a rock and God would provide water from the rock. Don’t try this at home…it won’t work. Anyway, Moses gets angry and he strikes the rock two times and water comes out. Then God tells Moses “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” What!? Moses has put up with all of this complaining for years, has done miraculous things in God’s name and in God’s power and he makes ONE mistake and he doesn’t get to go to the promised land? That would be like telling your five year old that because he forgot to pick up his underwear that morning he can’t go with the family to Disneyworld! Or, at least that is what it seems like to me…and therein lies the problem as I see it.
I am not qualified, and neither are you, to calculate the cost of my sin. I believe that 95% or more of all the sin that you and I commit is sin that we know is wrong to do before we do it. We know it…but we do it anyway. And when we do it, we make a mental calculation of the cost of that sin. We decide that the cost is worth the “benefit” we think our sin will bring us. Isn’t this true for you…go ahead…admit it is. But we are really not qualified to make this calculation. We see the person get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol. He knows it’s wrong to do this, but he calculates that he is OK to drive home. And tragically, in some cases, disaster awaits. He was wrong in his calculation. I don’t know for sure what kind of calculation Moses made in this case. If nothing else, he failed to calculate the path his anger would take him down. May this example be instructive for us. Let’s obey God. Let’s not try to calculate the cost of sin. Rather, let’s enjoy the benefit of obedience. If you are involved right now in an ongoing sin that you are accepting in your life because of the cost you think it is taking, consider repenting. Consider changing your mind before the cost gets out of hand, becoming more than you ever intended