Bible Reading: Exodus chapters 14-16
The Quick Transition From Faith in God to Distrust and Fear
God’s divine interventions are always supernatural and point us to recognize His omnipotence. He makes sure that the miraculous blessing we receive is beyond our ability, or we would take the credit for ourselves. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17. Although God is faithful, we fail to remember and reflect on our past victories. The next hardship produces discouragement and defeat. We react as if we have no memory of God’s divine intervention from the previous trial that He delivered us from. “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” John 16:33.
Sadly, thousands of years later, we repeat the same behaviors of doubt and disbelief in God that caused ancient Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. I love to study the biblical history of the Old Testament. Real-life experiences of disobedience, failure, and victory documented for our benefit. Recently, I listened to a sermon that spoke about the faithlessness of the freed Israelites. Did you know that the trip from Egypt to Canaan was only 11 days?
Stand Still and See God’s Divine Intervention
- And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14.
- Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. Exodus 14:21.
- Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” Exodus 14:26.
- So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 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 14:30-31
The Song of Moses–Exodus 15, Acknowledging the Greatness of God
“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; The earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:11-13
Exposure of Our Real Character
Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:2-3
The journey is rough. But serves its purpose by revealing our character defects. You know, the over-confidence in our voices as we proclaim, “Yes, I trust in the Lord,” or “My faith is strong.” The Apostle Paul explains:
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4
Paul was a scholar, yet, he was humble, readily admitting that he could not trust his own judgment, nor rely on his conscience for true self-evaluation.
My most recent wilderness experience lasted six months. Why? I started the journey with confidence but lost focus on God when the difficulty continued. Spiritually blinded, I could only think about my limited abilities and the desire for the trial to end. Like ancient Israel, I cried out to God for help. Even so, I love God because He always reveals the deficits we possess, which are displeasing to Him. When I acknowledged and repented of my condition of little faith and distrust, God began to show me how to build my faith and trust in Him.
God is loving and patient. It is only by His grace and mercies that He tolerates our distrust. In reading Exodus 14-16, I felt fed up with ungrateful Israel for being complainers when God delivered them from enslavement. Then God reminded me of His command [in January] to move 1400 miles to the Florida coast to begin a new life in a city where I had never resided and without friends and family. Instead of a spirit of gratitude, I started focusing on loneliness, to which God reminded me that He will never leave or forsake me, and the relocation was part of His plans for my life. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
My wilderness experience will differ from your experience. Still, the end result will bring us closer to God. By the time we navigate through the dry terrain, we will reverence and honor God. And God will be pleased with our spiritual transformation. It takes the desert thirst and hunger that only God can fill to open our spiritual eyes and serve Him with humility. Remember, we are never alone! Continually acknowledge God’s presence through prayers of thanksgiving. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.… James 1:2-3
A word of caution: We must not linger in the wilderness! When God reveals our faults begin the human effort of humility and obedience. Our daily prayer should reflect David’s prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24. God will answer our prayer of repentance, readily forgiving us: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10.
To receive spiritual insight, we commit to following God’s plan and pray for divine intervention. Studying the Holy Scriptures, praying for wisdom, discernment, and increased faith reflects our willingness to trust, obey, and adhere to God’s perfect plan. Once you travel through the wilderness, stay out! Do not look back by falling into previous behaviors. And do not despise your hardships! God is preparing us for the end time by strengthening our character. Without the wilderness journey, we would miss out on our reward of eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Prayer: We just want to say, Thank you, God! In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:1, 17, 20.