Imagine what that must have been like – moving forward by faith on a crazy, yet beautiful path made of dry sea bed and a wall of water standing tall on each side of you! That quick journey through the heart of the sea must have been a time of wonder filled with moments of “Can you believe this?!”
I think I would have reached out my hand to touch the wall of water to see what it felt like? Was it hard like a wall or could I have put my hand through it to touch the sea life on the other side?-)
And what delight must have filled the hearts of the Israelites as they stepped into true freedom when they reached the other side!
God had turned the dead end path where they were trapped by their enemies into such an incredible path of deliverance that they celebrated with tambourines, dancing and singing! They gave thanks and sang praises to the One who had delivered them (Ex. 15).
Surely the echoes of this mighty act of God on their behalf would not be quickly forgotten…
But, you know what?
Three days after they travelled from the Red Sea, they ran out of water.
But, instead of remembering God’s promise to bring them to the Promised Land and turning their eyes upward to present their prayers and petitions to the One who had brought about their deliverance from the hand of the Egyptians…
By the second month as they travelled through the wilderness to the Promised Land, they were running out of food and they had convinced themselves that God had delivered them from the Egyptians to bring them into the wilderness so that He could kill them from hunger (Ex. 16:3) and thirst (Ex. 17:3).
After God told them to move on after spending almost a year in the Desert of Sinai where God spent much time teaching them about Himself, His glory, His holiness, His love and His law, the people once again started to complain about their hardships and they began to look back to Egypt saying “If only we had meat to eat…we remember what we had in Egypt…we never see anything but this manna.”
By the time they reached Kadesh Barnea and the spies came back with the report of the Promised Land – that it was a land flowing with milk and honey filled with fortified cities and powerful people – they had not only forgotten God’s works on their behalf…
They had rejected Him and rebelled against Him as their God, refusing to trust Him to fulfill His promises and bring them into the land He had swore on oath to give to Abraham and his descendants.
Instead they said, “The Lord hates us, so He brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go?” (Deut 1:27, 28)
Moses called out to them telling them to not be terrified nor afraid of the people of the land, for God who was going before them, would fight for them just as He had in Egypt. He would look after them just as He had in the wilderness where He carried them – all the way they went until they reached this place – showing them where to camp and the way they should go.
Every place in the wilderness – every trial of need that they experienced – was specifically designed by God to show them and teach them that He was their good Father – the provider of every need that He allowed them to experience.
Yet, they missed it!
And because they refused to remember His deliverance and because they rebuffed the lessons of the wilderness, the lens through which they were viewing the situation they were facing was skewed and their perspective was wrong. Just when they should have been looking forward with willing hearts of obedience and eager, confident trust in the One who had delivered them from the Egyptians and who had provided for every need in the wilderness….
They were believing that God hated them…that He had delivered them in the past and sustained them in the wilderness so that He could destroy them…
In the Land of Promise.
They made plans to turn around…
To go backwards…
To return to Egypt.
I have cried as I have read these accounts of the Israelites and wondered how could they have missed it?
How could their mindset become so skewed that they actually believed God hated them?
How could they forget all His mighty acts on their behalf to deliver them, and instead believe that God did all He did to destroy them?
How could they forget the promises of God and His faithfulness to them?
I have also wept bitter tears as I have seen the same tendencies in my own heart and mind. God has been so good to me, faithfully providing again and again for every need that He allows me to face. God is a God whose steadfast love NEVER ceases. His compassion DO NOT FAIL. His mercies NEVER come to an end. His faithfulness IS GREAT.
And I know this for He has shown me His faithfulness again and again…
Yet, so often when I face dark valleys and ferocious enemies…when I encounter difficult trials and overwhelming circumstances…
I forget His steadfast love. I forget His gentle care. I forget His provisions. I forget His promises. I forget His presence. I forget…
Oh Father, forgive me! Help me not to forget! Help me to remember Your mighty acts and Your faithful provisions in my life each and every day so that when you send me forward into a new place, I do not falter…I do not waver…I do not try to go back to what was…but rather, help me to remember and to look up and move forward with a confident heart of trust in obedience to You, knowing that just as You have been faithful in the past…
You will be faithful again.
For You are God Almighty, who does not change.
You are the same yesterday, today and forevermore.