“But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb…” Numbers 14:10 (NLT)
How quickly things can change. After two years in the wilderness enjoying the miraculous provision of God, God’s people began to talk about murdering their leaders on the very eve of receiving their promise. The spirit of murder does not magically appear in our life. It’s not something that should ever catch us by surprise. The Apostle James instructs us that temptation grows out of our desires which entice us and drag us away from what is right. When we nurture those desires, instead of giving them to Jesus to be crucified on the cross, they give birth to sinful actions. Then, when sin is allowed to run unchecked, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15) Another way of looking at it, is that when we allow our emotions to lead us instead of God’s Word, we will eventually give in to temptation – in other words, we will sin. If we still fail to turn it over to God it will bring the spirit of murder. That spirit may position itself against others, or it may put us in a mindset of self-destruction.
This spirit only takes affect after others are allowed to pave the way. As we saw in part 2, the spirit of entitlement convinced the people that they did not have to work to enjoy God’s provision. In part 3, we saw how fear can turn us into the kind of people we never want to be – afraid of every shadow and unable to seize opportunities for fear of failure. Part 4 revealed that when people refuse to follow God-appointed leadership, they begin to rebel. And most recently, in part 5, we witnessed the devastating effects of unbelief. Murder did not come in by itself; it rode on the backs of these devastating demons.
While the extreme manifestation of the spirit of murder is physical death, that is not the only affect. Jesus taught in Matthew 15 that we are defiled by the words of our mouth which are actually a physical manifestation of the condition of our heart. He goes on to say that out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander (v. 19.) This was perfectly understandable to the Jewish listeners who had been taught since childhood that gossip assassinates someone’s character. It affects their ability to live their life. Many would argue that it is not gossip if it is true, but Rabbi Jesus would concur with tradition that anything – true or false – that diminishes another person murders their reputation and as a result is sin instigated by the spirit of murder.
So before it gets to the point of physical or character murder, let us follow the advice of that well known theologian of the 1960’s Barney Fife and “Nip it in the bud. Nip it, Nip it, Nip it!”
Father God, thank You for giving us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3). Through You, we have the power to overcome all of these demonic spirits. By Your grace, we never have to allow the spirit of murder to take liberty with our hands or with our tongues. Keep us by Your divine power in the spirit of love and peace. Bless us all, In Jesus Name, Amen!