Have you ever made a major adjustment or change in your life and knew it was God’s leading but then after you made the change things seemed like they were going downhill? You then found yourself questioning God and felt that he may have left you alone. Well, this is what happened to the children of Israel when they left Egypt and found themselves free from the bondage of slavery but in the middle of the wilderness for 40 years.
They witnessed the plagues that fell on the Egyptians, they witnessed the death of the firstborn, and they witnessed the Red Sea opening up so that they could walk through to safety from Pharaoh and his army. To top it all off, God was with them
in the form of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night hovering right over them.
But now here they are away from good food, good shelter and good water. Now with all of the merciful miracles would you question God? Would you whine and complain? We may say that we wouldn’t but what do we do today when we find ourselves in situations that may look unpromising?
The children of Israel began to murmur and complain to Moses. They began to think that they were going to starve to death in the wilderness. Although at the moment they were not starving, they were looking at the future and fear came over them. Jesus says for us not to worry about tomorrow. Often at the moment we are
doing fine but we begin to fret for the future. Jesus speaks against this in Matthew 6:34.
Sometimes we find ourselves in the wilderness not realizing that God is right there with us. We need to go through a trial or two to reconstruct, build and purify our characters.
Just when the children of Israel thought they had completely run out of food, God rained down quail for them. Then in the mornings he rained down manna. Manna was a sweet white substance that they’d gather up, ground and made into cakes.
God gave them special instructions though. He told them that he would send it down every day except for the Sabbath. Remember when God created the world; he created the Sabbath on the seventh day. Gen.2:1-3 He rested from His work on that day and here we find that He wants His people to do the same. No tables of stone were created yet by the way. So He told His people to collect each day the manna from the ground; fresh manna every day. The manna that was left from the day before if not collected would immediately spoil. But on preparation day, the day before the Sabbath, He rained down a double portion because He did not want the children working on the Sabbath. They were required to collect and bake on the sixth day in preparation for the Sabbath. Some of the people however were disobedient and went on the Sabbath to collect anyway. When they went on the seventh day there was none. (Ex.16:26-28)
Even in this wonderful blessing of raining down food daily and then sending down a double portion the day before the Sabbath and to top it off giving us a day to rest the children of Israel were still ungrateful and disobedient just as we are today. The word of God states that we must take this day of rest and instead we murmur,
complain and make excuses not to honor it. Jesus says that still today there is rest day for us. (Heb.4:8-10)
As the children journeyed to the land that was promised, they faced trials and struggles but all along the way, the Lord was with them through it all. Trials were allowed to purify and break them from the previous life that they had been living while in Egypt. God had to break them and bring them back to Him.
It is the same for us today. We need to be broken too because we have been living in today’s Egypt…living like the world. God wants to draw us back to Him. He wants us to become like Him and in order to do this; He has to take us through a wilderness too. Some of us may have to dwindle almost to nothing. We may have to lose certain treasured possessions, job, money, friends or family before He can do any good with us.
Have faith and confidence in knowing that just as He was with them in the form of a cloud and then a pillar of fire, he is with us, the children of Israel of today, guiding us along the way just as much.