Lessons From Exodus
This is the last article in a three part series. If you haven’t read the first two (Part 1 & Part 2) you may want to take some time to check them out because I don’t have a lot of room to recap so you’ll be missing out on some details.
What we’re going to look at specifically here is how Israel’s lack of faith was the source of their wavering hearts. Our aim is not just to diagnose the vascilating nature of the Israelites. We want mainly to discover what we can learn from their condition to help us in ours so that we can subdue our own wavering hearts. Faith is the key.
How do I know their lack of faith was the cause? To be honest, I cheated. I jumped ahead to the New Testament for the answer.
For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. – Hebrews 3:16-19, NASB
The Holy Spirit reveals to us here in Hebrews why God did not allow the generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt to enter the promise land. It was because of their unbelief. You may be thinking, Yeah. Okay. So what? Everyone knows that. But we’re talking about them always complaining. We’re not talking about them entering the promise land.
What we see here, stated plain as day, is that they did not have any faith in God. They didn’t believe in Him. They didn’t trust Him. Therefore He didn’t allow them to enter Canaan. Their grumbling was simply a symptom of their unbelief.
Israel Trusted Their Selves Too Much
Think about it. What was the difference between Moses and the rest of Israel? The only real difference was that Moses believed God when God said He was going to do something. Moses’ faith was evident even in His conversation with God at the burning bush as he tried to resist the call. Notice that Moses never called God’s ability or faithfulness into question. Moses doubted himself. Not God.
On the other hand, the rest of Israel seemed pretty confident in themselves. They never complained against their selves. Never doubted their selves. In fact, they always seemed pretty sure that they had the best solution all along – go back to Egypt. They always seemed to have full fledged faith that going back to Egypt would fix everything. But the complained against and questioned Moses and Aaron, and in effect God, at every twist and turn.
They never really believed that Moses knew what he was doing or that God really was going to take care of them. But they were always pretty confident in their own solution convinced that going back to Egypt was the best thing for them to do. They fought God and Moses every step of the way on their journey. Continuously wanting to go back to Egypt. Is it any surprise God din’t let them enter the promise land?
God Wants the Best for You
Their murmuring and grumbling along the way was simply because they didn’t trust and believe that God had their best interests at heart or that He would fulfill His promises to them. Moses believed God and you don’t see him grumbling. He did get a little frustrated at times. But he continued to push on in faith and obedience because He trusted God.
Where does that leave us? We have two choices set before us. We can be like Moses. We can trust that God has our best interests at heart and will be faithful to His promises and thus we continue to press forward in faith in spite of our frustrations at times.
Or we can be like the rest of Israel. Constantly complaining because we don’t trust that God is good and faithful.
When we find ourselves constantly vacillating between praise and complaints based on our circumstances, it’s only because we are doubting God. We allow what we see to affect our trust in God. The only cure for a wavering heart is faith.
Faith is the Answer
Faith is the answer we’re looking for when it comes to subduing our wavering hearts. The key to maintaining an unwavering heart is to continually choose to trust God in spite of how crazy your circumstances may get. Had Israel done this then their journey through the wilderness would’ve been a lot easier, probably a lot shorter also, and they would’ve got to enter the promise land.
When your boss makes your job harder, will you continue to trust God? When you don’t get that promotion, will you continue to trust God? When business isn’t going all that good, will you continue to trust God?
When your back is against the Red Sea and Pharaoh has you cornered, will you continue to trust God even though there is no apparent escape? When it looks like you’re going to go without food or water, will you continue to trust God? When things just don’t seem to be going the way you think they should, will you continue to trust God?
The choice is yours. Only you can choose to commit your heart in faith. Just remember two things:
- God is good.
- God is faithful.
God is Good
God is good means that God has your best interests in mind. While the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt God wanted to take them onto something much greater. Had they believed that God had their best interests in mind they would’ve followed without complaint. They would’ve known that Egypt was not the best solution even if it looked like it at the time.
God is Faithful
God is faithful means God will fulfill His promises. Even if you question God’s goodness you can still choose to submit your heart in faith if you believe in God’s faithfulness. Israel could have said, “You know what. We’re not so sure about this God of yours, Moses. But, He seems to be good on keeping His promises and He promised this place we’re going to is going to be great so we trust Him.” Pretty simple.
I’ve met a lot of people (non-Christians) whose doubts about God, the Bible and Jesus all boil down to these two things. They question God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness. I’ve also met a lot of Christians who struggle with a lot of things because they put more confidence in their selves than they do in God and it all boils down to these two things.
Even as a Christian we can often find ourselves in these places where we’re questioning God’s goodness and faithfulness. In those moments our hearts will waver if we do not make a conscious choice to believe that God is good and faithful. However, we cannot do it on our own.
We must take our unbelief before God, be honest and transparent with Him and ask Him to help us push through in faith.
Copyright © 2016 Lawrence Joseph Sterling. All rights reserved.