Here at Preparing the Bride, I’m telling GOD’S STORY. Presumptuous?! Not when simply looking at scripture, because scripture is the unfolding of God’s story to us who read it.
This is GOD’s Story: Part 2, looking at the nature of the Hebrews, God’s chosen people. He chose them because He had chosen Abraham and the Hebrews are Abraham’s descendants. Abraham had others descendants but the ones who are special to Him, according to Biblical scripture: the Chosen Ones are the Hebrews, descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Hebrews become Faithful
Exodus 14 is where we’ll start. The Hebrews have left Egypt with gold and silver from their Egyptian neighbours, who had watched the onslaught of plagues inflicted upon the Pharaoh — and his people — because of his own stubborn heart. But after their escape, when they see the Egyptian army following, “Then the Hebrews say to Moses, “Because there were not graves in Egypt, you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt so with us…?” (verse 11)
The miracles of GOD did not leave an impression on them, building them as a people of faith. Not yet.
Next Moses obeyed GOD and the sea was parted miraculously. The Hebrews escaped across dry ground and then the sea closed over the Egyptians who were following them. “Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” (verse 30) Very grim indeed. Such was the consequence of the power of GOD, and “so the people feared the LORD and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” (verse 31)
They who were faithless became full of fear and full of faith.
Next, let’s turn to Exodus 16 and 17. The Hebrews have arrived in the wilderness. And they are getting grumpy, as people are inclined to do.
They’ve celebrated their deliverance from attack and the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. GOD has promised He will take care of them. He has promised they will escape disease if they heed His voice and do what is right in His sight. He has offered them a one-to-one relationship with them. But they don’t like the wilderness and they start to complain.
Moses says, “for the LORD has heard your complaints which you make against Him…” (verse 8) and “He has heard your complaints.” (Exodus 16:9)
The LORD presents Manna — bread from Heaven for them to eat. He brings quail and promises bread will come by day and meat at evening.
But they break His rule which asks them to respect His Sabbath.
Then “the people contended with Moses” (Exodus 17: 2) because they were thirsty.
They had received water from a rock. Pillars of fire and cloud had guided and protected them, food and water was given. Why did they still complain?
A new enemy approaches and they fear the enemy; yet GOD gives them military victory.
So many good gifts and mighty miracles have come from GOD. And yet, gratitude and obedience are missing, even after the fulfilment of all His promises and His miracles. Why?
Talking to Moses
“Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (Exodus 16:2)
“And the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses, and said “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3)
What is missing? GOD has provided and protected at every turn. And yet the complaints and hostility continue to be the knee-jerk reaction of the Hebrews in their situation. One problem is that the Hebrews are communicating with the leader but not with Their Leader. They talk to Moses, they complain to him and Aaron. But they do not communicate with GOD. What if they had?
The Hebrews are not without some gratitude. They are expressive, not only of fear and complaints but also of joy. Exodus 15 is all about the celebration of freedom.
Miriam, Moses’ sister, leads the dance and song as women rejoice at their escape from the enemy.
“The LORD is my strength and son, And He has become my salvation;” they sing. (Exodus 15:2)
There is an echo of this later in Judges 5, when the Hebrews rejoice after another military victory, “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” (verse 31)
The Hebrews, who will become the Jewish people, know their GOD is powerful. But do they know He’s on their side. Do they know who it is they are celebrating?
Fear of the LORD GOD… without trust
When staring at the dead Egyptians on the seashore, after the waters of the Red Sea had come crashing down, the Hebrews must have shuddered. They must have paused and thought, “That could have been us!”
The scripture says, “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31)
Reminiscent of this is Peter, walking on water…
In Matthew, this Jewish man, upon seeing Jesus walking on water said, “LORD, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) And Jesus does.
“But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (verse 30)
What was missing in Peter? We might scoff at Peter and yet, at least he got out of the boat; at least he tried.
What was missing with the Hebrews? We might think ‘how ungrateful they are’. And yet, they were homeless.
They have fear. They have faith. So what is missing in the Hebrews and in Peter?
GOD provided to the Hebrews according to the requests. GOD was consistent. Jesus did do as Peter asked. And yet there was so much doubt.
They all saw the power of GOD. But did they know His love?
Do you know what I believe was missing? They feared Him without trusting Him.
Why was trust missing? They were not aware of the perfect love of GOD.
And even Peter, who had relationship with Jesus as one of his best friends, still lacked faith because he was unable to realise just how much GOD loved him.
Who is GOD?
This is GOD’s story. He made Himself available to the Hebrews. He made Himself available to Peter. He makes Himself available to us. What do we do with that opportunity? Do we talk to Him? To what degree do we trust Him? To that degree will be the our level of faith, the extent of our submission, and the limit of our peace.
GOD’s story will tell us at every turn, He loves us! He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we turn around and He isn’t there, why is that? Surely it is because we’ve moved away.
Every blessing as the LORD allows His story to unfold in our own hearts:)