It is an encouraging thing that I feel slightly less oscitant this morning than I have the past few days. It is so wearisome to be weary!
We had a great sermon Sunday evening, and it’s been on my mind. Here are some rabbit-trails I’ve explored.
When the children of Israel left Egypt, God took them to an impossible place—between the Red Sea and the army of the enemy. How hopeless that must have seemed, and how easy it would have been to despair! So when God dried up the sea and delivered them in an incredible way, what a triumph! And to use the return of the waters to completely destroy the enemy—well, that was just plain awesome! The Israelites rejoiced, they sang and danced, they partied!
But after that wonderful celebration, they began their wilderness experience. The initial deliverance from sin is beautiful, like no other feeling. Incredible joy and gratitude floods you. But it’s not enough to just get saved. God has a lot more in store, and it’s only the beginning of the journey! God then takes us into a time of testing, to try us, to make sure that our hearts are centered on Him and only Him.
Israel struggled during this time. They grumbled and complained, they were unfaithful, they bickered among themselves. We do the same thing. Though we’ve been miraculously whisked from the clutches of the enemy, we find that things still aren’t exactly to our satisfaction.
First there was the hunger. We humans really don’t like deprivation. We like to have full tummies and all the creature comforts. So when God provided manna—WOW! That’s a neat touch, God–food that magically appears overnight!
But (again BUT) they got tired of manna. Yeah, it’s great to have sustenance, but the same old thing for days and days gets…. well, boring! If only we had something to kind of spice it up—you know, some of those onions and garlic we raised in Egypt would be really tasty right now. Oh, and melons—doesn’t that sound good? That would cool our throats! I am just sick of manna and of wandering around in circles with no end in sight. This is no way to live! We were better off in Egypt! I wonder… if we would show some respect for Egypt’s gods, maybe they’d help us out…
What did they forget? Well, for one thing, they were slaves in Egypt. Yes, they had a certain degree of comfort, they had good food, and some aspects of their lives didn’t look too bad. But what about Pharaoh killing their babies? And what about that new job they had—gathering straw as well as making bricks for the pyramids? Getting beaten any time they didn’t work hard enough to suit their cruel masters?
How did Israel forget those things? Well, have you ever noticed how memories tend to center on the good things? It’s much easier to forget pain and bad experiences, and we like to think about good things, so we tend to remember those. It’s a very useful phenomenon, in some ways, but it can work against us.More later.