... those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed (I Samuel 2:30b).
One of the worst things you could do is to dishonor God. That is, to despise the words he speaks to you personally, or to treat them with contempt.
It is one thing to disregard God's commands when you are not a Christian, as then His love will seek a way to draw you to himself. But when you talk with God and know his heart intimately, and then turn around and despise and reject the word that He speaks directly to your heart, it is a different matter. It hurts the heart of God and elicits a harsh response from him.
Moses was God’s friend, a man to whom God spoke face to face – the man to whom God first showed his glory. Moses was a great intercessor who changed God’s mind from destroying the entire Israelite population for their unbelief and starting a new nation with himself. He led the stubborn and complaining people through the wilderness for 40 years because God commissioned him, and not because he chose to or wanted to do it. Yet God forbade him from entering the land he promised for their inheritance because he dishonored God.
Moses disobeyed one specific instruction that God gave to him thus misrepresenting God before the people.
It seems a simple matter. God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come out to refresh the complaining and unbelieving set of people whom he was leading. But in anger, Moses struck the rock. Instead of speaking to the rock to make the people see the awesomeness and grace of God,Moses spoke angrily to the people 'Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ (Numbers 20: 10 NIV).
God was angry with him but because God is merciful and patient he allowed the water to gush forth. But Moses had to be disciplined for disregarding the instructions he had been given - for not giving God the honor due to him.
We have to understand that God does not take dishonor lightly. He is God and he is holy; he is our maker and he cannot ignore sin, especially among those who are close to his heart – those to whom he makes himself known. He told Moses, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites you will not bring this community into the land I give them’ (Numbers 20:12 NIV).
Later when Moses actually had a glimpse of the Promised Land from the mountain, he asked God to change his mind about allowing him to enter the land.
‘At that time I pleaded with the Lord:
“O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to
show to your servant your greatness and
your strong hand…. Let me go over and see
the land beyond the Jordan…. But because
of you the Lord was angry with me and
would not listen to me. “That is enough,”
the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore
about this matter (Deuteronomy 3: 23-26).
Again as with Moses, God gave King Saul specific instructions about how to deal with the Amalekites, through his prophet, Samuel, but Saul disobeyed, was unrepentant and so was rejected by God. Samuel told Saul what God said:
I will punish the Amalekites for
what they did to Israel when they
waylaid them as they came up out of
Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites
and totally destroy everything that
belongs to them. Do not spare them;
put to death men and women, children
and infants, cattle and sheep, camels
and donkeys. (I Samuel 15: 3 NIV)
But Saul did not follow all the instructions he received from God. He spared the life of the King of the Amalekites and he and the people contrived to keep back the best of the cattle and livestock. He rationalized away God’s commands, and determined in his own heart that it was all right to keep the best animals alive to sacrifice to God.
‘Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “ I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and not carried out my instructions (I Samuel 15: 10)." God wanted obedience rather than sacrifice and he turned away from Saul for despising his word, and chose someone else to replace him as King.
God is a loving father, full of mercy and compassion but he is still a holy God; a God of judgment who is to be feared and treated with awe and reverence. Dishonoring God never occurs without a consequence. The word of God makes it clear that God does discipline his children:
"Anyone who rejected the law of Moses
died without mercy on the testimony of
two or three witnesses. How much more
severely do you think a man deserves
to be punished who has trampled the Son
of God under foot, who has treated as
an unholy thing the blood of the covenant
that sanctified him, and who has insulted
the Spirit of grace? For we know him who
said “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
and again, “The Lord will judge the people.”
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God (Hebrews 10: 28-31