THE STORY chapter #6
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Friday post will focus on our current study chapter.)
The Israelites stayed camped at the foot of Mount Sinai for a year. They stayed there because the presence of God, in the form of a cloud by day and fire in the cloud by night, hovered about the tabernacle. They were only to travel if the cloud traveled. This visual allowed the Israelites to know that God was always with them.
But the Israelites were not content that God rescued them from slavery, promising them fertile land to build their future great nation. And regardless that the cloud of God was always with them, the Israelites still complained. Complained about food, so God gave them the miracle of manna. Complained about lack of meat, so God provided quail.
Next, as they approached and inspected the land God promised to give them, the Israelites did not believe they could conquer the current inhabitants.
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Numbers 14: 2-3
All this complaining! Still, God sustained His people forty more years. When they arrived in the Desert of Zin, there was a lack of water. The people again quarreled and complained until they received water. Eventually they followed God’s cloud to the Red Sea, where again they complained about no bread, no water and the miserable food!
As I read through this magnificent story of God trying to work with these saved slaves, trying to fulfill His promise to make them into a great nation, all I could think about was how selfish these people were to Him. They ignored what God had already promised and did for them. Then I thought about me.
God already claimed His great love for me, sending His Son to die. Yet like the Israelites, I still do not follow His lead. God tries to tell me to watch what I say, but gossip flows or I complain how people don’t do things my way. God tries to tell me to act like His child, but sometimes when I am with unbelievers I bet they do not realize I believe. Truth is, when I look in the mirror I can see those selfish Israelites in my reflection.
Thankfully, we can always turn to the Lord, confess our sin, repent, and ask for His forgiveness. Moses continually asked God to forgive His people, and although God punished them for their sin, He did forgive the believers. God promised His unending love for us through His Son – I need to remember that. And to remember God is always with me, is forgiving, and He sees my true heart, not just the sin I too often reflect.
THE STORY foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee