And, can I tell you, that I often forget? In the messiness and mundane moments of life, I miss the miracle. Some days redemption does not feel like rescue. Like the Isrealites, I am easily tempted to go back to the slavery of sin, doubting the promises of God. Unbelief mixes with pride and I believe I am a better author of my own story and can find my own path. When disappointments come, I am slow to trust and quick to complain. My forgetfulness is the source of my hopelessness.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been reading through Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy (not the typical starting place for the Easter story, but I promise I’ll get there). I must admit, as the story of the Israelites unfolds, I find myself a bit flummoxed at their slowness to learn and quickness to grumble.
Over and over, God does amazing miracles right before their eyes, and they still struggle to believe. Just consider all that the Israelites witnessed:
- The Nile turned to blood
- The plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, hail, and locust
- The death of the Egyptian’s livestock and festering boils
- Darkness over all the land
- The death of all the firstborn of Egypt
Perhaps the Israelites sought to explain away these miracles as naturally occurring events. Maybe it was just a strange weather pattern that brought about the frogs, gnats, flies, and hail. Perhaps it was a solar eclipse that brought the darkness upon the land. Even in the midst of miracles, we have a propensity to look for natural reasons for why things happen.
However, as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly impossible to miss the Lord’s goodness and guidance.
When the Israelites reach the Red Sea, they are stuck. An army of chariots follows behind them, a body of water sits before them. At just the right moment, God miraculously parts the Red Sea. Every single Israelite crossed over unharmed. Each one had to step into the sea, beholding a wall of water. Could you ever forget such a moment? There was no natural explanation. The waters drew apart like a curtain in the opening scene of a grand play. And then, they returned, just in time to gobble up Pharaoh’s army.
After crossing the Sea and finding themselves hungry, God provided manna. Every day for forty years. Every day they feasted on His provision. When they were thirsty water flowed from a rock. Yes, a rock. Their clothing did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
And, yet, still their hearts struggled with unbelief.