Receiving from GOD: Are we like the Hebrew slaves?
Why the Hebrews didn’t trust the power of GOD
A question I’ve often asked myself is ‘Why did the Hebrews not have more faith? Why did they moan instead of trust GOD?’
They moaned when their backs were against the sea and the Egyptian chariots were closing in. Sure, it’d be scary. But already they’d received the gold from the Egyptians before they departed as promised to them from GOD through Moses. And they were wandering in the desert but never lost, following a supernatural cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. And yet, when they came to the Red Sea they despaired.
So why did they doubt GOD would protect them against the Egyptians?
Before the Red Sea is parted, Moses promises them, “Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13) and GOD delivers!
A look into Exodus 12-14 reveals how GOD provides for them time and again. They praise GOD after they escape from the Egyptians, passing through the Red Sea while walking on dry ground. And yet their fear returns as soon as they are thirsty….
Even after all the evidence of GOD’s provision through the supernatural, as soon as the Hebrews got thirsty, they lost faith again and complained… to Moses.
The root problem: the Hebrews’ lack of relationship
Notice first, that the people didn’t talk to GOD but to Moses. They didn’t relate to their heavenly father, the Creator but to the appointed human leader. They looked to their provision to come from Moses, rather than seeking GOD for themselves. They must have feared the all-powerful GOD, whereas the human leader was the one to whom they could make their pleas and demands.
Perhaps this is how they received their subsistence from the Egyptians; food came from the designated leaders or guards, not from Pharaoh himself. They had no relationship with Pharaoh and so, they had no expectation to relate to GOD Himself.
They didn’t know HOW to be free
The Hebrews had been slaves for generations. What they did, what they ate, had been determined by the sovereign will of the Pharaoh; and what they received depended upon the distribution by the guards. They had no expression of free will.
They only knew how to follow commands.
Slaves do not have freedom. Consider the slaves in the American South at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865). For decades, slaves had received from their masters their food, lodging, clothing; sometimes even their mates were selected for them. They were seldom taught to think but only to take what was given to them. Perhaps some had the gumption to complain, but they knew they might get whipped for it, or worse. Some had kind owners, some had evil owners; therefore, some lived in peaceful surroundings, but many lived in total fear….
Plantations were somewhat smaller than the universe though.
As for the Hebrews, whilst they too knew how to follow, they did not know whom they were following…. And so they didn’t receive.
Lack of Faith
They refused to trust GOD to go into and capture the Promised Land, so their generation never got to see it. When all but Caleb and Joshua refused to take the land, GOD said,
“… because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.” (Numbers 13:22-23)
How about us? Will we see our Promised Land?
Our personal concept of GOD
Are we like the Hebrews, fearful of GOD, avoiding personal contact? Even unbelievers have a concept of an all-powerful GOD, though they lack the awareness that He could be full of grace and love — if He exists at all.
As born again believers, are we aware of who GOD is, or are we as still slaves in our perception of GOD? Do we know Him as our provider, full of goodness and truth?
Moses asked GOD, ‘Who shall I say has sent me?’ In Exodus 3:14 GOD’s reply was to say, “I AM WHO I AM”
There are many names of GOD which evoke an image or identity of Himself. Here are some below:
El Shaddai = all sufficient one
Adonai = over all
Yahweh or Yehovah Rohi = shepherd
Rapha = one who heals
Jireh = one who provides
Shalom = one who is our peace
Do we recognise our image of GOD in this list of names? Or have we developed a false sense of GOD’s identity?
(There are so many more names which identify GOD. Check out the internet for a more comprehensive list.)
Our perception of GOD
Jesus called GOD his father many times. So he is Our Father also. But have we inadvertently overlaid that image as Our Father with that of our own imperfect earthly father, or teachers, parents, or church leaders?
Moses acted as GOD’s spokesperson, in part because the Hebrews did not communicate with GOD directly. Do we put someone between ourselves and GOD?
Do we trust, knowing he “gives good gifts to children”?
The Father loves us, does not condemn us
Are we receiving everything as He intends for us?
Now “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) So I am not seeking to condemn anyone, or to suggest anyone is walking in an “unfit” manner. But rather, I am urging all of us to ensure our image of GOD is as accurate as our knowledge of Him will allow, and that we walk freely — in love and in the Spirit — so that we can receive all He has for us, both now and eternally.
In Yeshua/Jesus I pray, Amen.