Nothing New Under the Sun
The Old Testament is a collection of love stories and tragedies, failures and victories, depravities and virtues, woes and blessings. Some parts are enough to make you squeamish, others make you mad, and there are some parts that make you cluck your tongue in disgust. But don’t be too hasty to pass judgment on those Israelites. Believer, we are no different.
Mere moments after the Israelites passed through the Red Sea to safety, freed from the bondage of slavery, they were moaning and groaning about God’s provision for them and wishing they were back in Egypt. How quickly they forgot their miserable existence and oppressive labor. Forgot that the Egyptians were killing them. Likewise, we treat our deliverance with contempt by returning to our former taskmaster – sin. Have we not seen greater miracles than the Israelites witnessed? Have we not been transformed? Rescued? Are we not continually being transformed and rescued? Yet, as soon as we encounter any struggles or trials, we, forgetting what it was like to be chained, reject the promises of God and long for things to be the way they were before. We have very short memories indeed.
Not long into their wanderings in the desert, the Israelites abandoned their God, rejected His commandment, and built for themselves an idol to worship, a god that was no god at all. A god that did not have ears to hear or eyes to see or hands to act or feet to move. They rejected the God of the universe, who had delivered them with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, for a hunk of gold. Believer, have we not personally, individually, intimately, and gloriously been delivered by God’s absolute power and unparalleled strength? Has God not already demonstrated His ability and willingness to rescue us? If, while we were still at enmity with God, He gave us everything, how much more so now that we are HIs? Why then, at the first sign of trouble, do we also build for ourselves idols to worship? We may not bow down to a golden calf but we surely do bow down to something other than God almighty. We look for salvation in things like money, family, our jobs, our plans, in our rituals, even in our obedience.
There is much we can learn from the Israelites of the Old Testament. We would do well to take advantage of the history God has preserved for us lest we find ourselves surrounded by Babylonians set on taking us captive.