Don’t Waste Your Afflictions

By David Wilkerson

English: The Daughters of Zelophehad. Caption:...

English: The Daughters of Zelophehad. Caption: “The women are kneeling down before Moses. They are asking him for something. They are the daughters of Zelophehad. Their father is dead. They have no brothers. They are asking for a share of the land promised to the men of the Israelites. Moses will give it to them.” Illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us: Containing 400 Illustrations from the Old and New Testaments: With brief descriptions by Charles Foster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

The book of Numbers contains a sad example of wasted afflictions. The five
daughters of a man called Zelophehad came to Moses asking for a share in the
possession of the Promised Land. They told Moses, “Our father died in the
wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves
together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but he died in his own sin,
and had no sons” (Numbers 27:3). These women were saying, “When all the others
rose up against you with Korah, our father wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t in
rebellion. He died in his own sin.”

This last phrase struck me as I read it: “He died in his own sin.” This meant
that although their father had seen incredible miracles—deliverance out of
Egypt, water flowing from a rock, manna coming from heaven—he died in
unbelief with the rest of his generation. Of that generation, only faithful
Joshua and Caleb survived the wilderness.

Obviously, these five daughters were born in the wilderness and they grew up in
a family full of anger toward God. All of Israel‘s testings and trials produced
only hardened unbelief in their father and these young women grew up hearing
murmuring, complaining and bitterness. At breakfast, lunch and supper, there
was constant bellyaching, with never a word of faith or trust in God. Now these
women had to tell Moses, “Our father left us with nothing—no hope, no
possessions, no testimony. He spent those forty years whining and in
bitterness, because life was hard. He died in sin, his life a total waste.”

What a horrible thing to have to say of one’s parents. Yet I must warn all
parents reading this: Your children are watching you as you’re under affliction
and your reactions and behavior will influence them for life. So, how are you
behaving? Are you wasting your affliction, not only for yourself but for the
generations that follow? I hope your heirs are being established in Christ as
they hear you say, “I don’t like this affliction but blessed be the name of the
Lord.”

I know many Christians who become more bitter and grumpy with every new
affliction. The very afflictions meant to train and sweeten them, trials
designed by God to reveal His faithfulness, instead turn them into habitual
complainers, sourpusses, and meanies. I wonder, “Where is their faith, their
trust in the Lord? What must their children think?”

Beloved, don’t waste your afflictions. Let them produce in you the sweet aroma
of trust and faith in your Lord.

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