What Went Wrong?
First, the people were not prepared to receive the blessing of a Promised Land yet.
Only three verses and three days after the powerful praise songs of Moses and Miriam about their deliverance through the Red Sea (Exodus 15), the Bible says, “The people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’” God miraculously provided pure water for them. The next chapter says, “The children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron…you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
This time the Lord provided manna for them from heaven. They then wanted meat, so God gave them meat. And on and on it goes as they complained and did things their own way instead of God’s way. But each time God would provide, discipline, and draw them back to Himself (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). He was preparing them for the fulfillment of His great promise of a special land.
God has blessings and promises for us too, but are they being held back because of our complaining and disobedience? It’s a shame some of us just aren’t ready to receive the gracious gifts God has in store for us. Why do we, like the Israelites, choose a desert land instead of a land flowing with milk and honey?
Second, they did not know the One true God that they were supposed to reflect to the others.
The people had been enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years. They did not have freedom to worship, and they saw the Egyptians worshiping everything from the sun to animals to the Pharaoh. God spent the wilderness years revealing Himself to them with miracles, provisions, love, care, discipline and judgement. When told to go take the Promised Land after they left Egypt their attitude was one of complaining, whining, rebelling, and refusing to go forward and conquer (Numbers 14).
But their response to proceed changed after they realized who God was and that He always did what He said He would do. So forty years later, when given a second chance to possess the land, their response was, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” (Joshua 1:16) They had learned a lot about loving, trusting and obeying God during their wandering in the desert.
Our lives reflect what we believe or do not believe about God. Do we know our God? He has revealed Himself to us through His Word. We must read, study, and meditate on Scripture so God can teach us who He is, especially since we are to be like Him. Are we reflecting the one true God to the people around us?
What is your favorite way to read, study, and meditate on Scripture?
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