Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Remember the Exodus

One thing the Israelites
 of the Old Testament liked to do was glorify their days in Egypt. They would on multiple occasions exclaim that it would have been better if they had never left Egypt than to be wandering in the wilderness they were now in. In the book of Numbers (the fourth book in the Bible), we see that God provided their food every day in the form of manna. They just had to go out and gather it and prepare it. They got tired of it, though, and complained that it wasn’t as delicious as the food they had in Egypt. Egypt— where they were slaves and where their infant sons were murdered. They didn’t remember Egypt as it truly was. It was never meant to be their permanent home anyway.

One of my favorite songs is Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves. The chorus says:

I've been painting pictures of Egypt,

I've been leaving out what it lacks

The future feels so hard,

And I wanna go back

The Israelites had selective memory, forgetting their enslavement and only remembering their few comforts. They were on their way to the Promised Land, and God promised them victory in response to their obedience. But they craved something else to eat, and that took priority over trusting God and His provision.

The Bible Recap book’s commentary on Numbers 11:

Their complaints aren’t related to an unmet need. This isn’t desperation— this is entitlement. God provides for them, but they don’t think it’s sufficient. They long for Egypt, forgetting that whatever God calls you to endure with Him is better than any kind of abundance without Him. It’s not like they had abundance in Egypt anyway! They’re romanticizing the past, and God calls it a rejection of Him.

In the book of Exodus, God parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, but quickly after (Numbers 11), the Israelites are found grumbling about food. They have witnessed a grand miracle, and all they can think about now is what else they want to eat. Aren’t we guilty of similar grumblings? We forget what God has done for us. When the present gets tough, we romanticize the past. When our present circumstances seem boring, less than glamourous, not exactly what we want, we complain rather than praise the fact we have daily provision.

The Bible Handbook commentary on Exodus says this:

Exodus gives a glimpse of the propensity of mankind to forget the goodness of the Lord. God delivers the Israelites time and time again, yet their hearts still wander from the Lord. They are eyewitnesses to many miracles that God performs, they see Him fulfill His promise, and they experience firsthand the covenant faithfulness of the Lord, but they still wander and look for other gods. This sinful condition is not limited to the Israelites. Instead, we would do well to recognize ourselves in the people of Israel. Exodus, with all of its portrayal of God’s provision, deliverance, and faithfulness, helps us to safeguard wander-prone hearts and teaches us to rely on the Lord’s promises.

What about your past are you wrongly remembering or glorifying because it seems easier than trusting God? Which God-given provisions are you grumbling about? What Red Sea moments are you forgetting? Stop and thank God for his provisions. Stop and remember His times of rescue in your life. Stop and ask Him to strengthen your faith and to help you to rely on Him and His plan.

I’ll leave you with these lyrics from another favorite song and issue a challenge for us to rely on God’s provisions and to trust His plan when we’re in the wilderness.

When you’re living in the Numbers, remember the Exodus.

Ellie Holcomb, Red Sea Road:

We will sing to our souls

We won't bury our hope

Where He leads us to go

There's a Red Sea road

When we can't see the way

He will part the waves

And we'll never walk alone

Down the Red Sea road

Oh help us believe You are faithful, you're faithful

When our hearts are breaking

You are faithful, You're faithful

You'll grant us eyes to see

You are faithful, You're faithful

Teach us to sing

You are faithful, You're faithful, You're faithful 


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