Reading through the book of exodus through to Joshua, I often find myself wondering what in the world was wrong with the people of Israel. After all the Lord did for them, after how he’d shown himself with undeniable evidence to them; from the plagues of Egypt to the parting of the red sea, to manna in the desert, but they still constantly grumbled and doubted.
Apparently, what was wrong with them back then is exactly what is wrong with us today. Most of us have seen God’s faithfulness and mercy in our lives, maybe not with miraculous manifestations like the days of Exodus, but even in subtlety there is still a strong conviction of God. We have seen Him fulfill promises; we have a lots of answered prayer- maybe not all, but a number nonetheless. We have occasionally felt so sure of God’s presence, love, concern and deliverance.
But wait till the next challenge comes our way, instead of putting our trust in God, we so soon get lost in a forest of confusion and doubt. We are not sure if we can trust the same God who gave us manna in the desert to give us clean water to drink. We can’t be sure whether the God who delivered us from an accident that would have resulted in death or disability will heal us from this recent diagnosis. The God who lifted us from depression or addiction, well, we are not sure that he’ll deliver us from this lawsuit.
Sometimes we think that it might be easier if God manifested himself to us more strongly and constantly. That if he did, we might have greater faith. But just read His story with the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. They had the undeniable evidence of God in the ever present glory cloud/pillar of fire, the daily manna, even the fiery mountain when God descended on Mount Sinai. And yet Aaron himself who was close to Moses, helped the people make an idol in the form of a golden calf when Moses went away for forty days.
I’ve heard of people who’ve been miraculously saved from all sorts of circumstances, people who’ve had close encounters with God and yet forgot all about it in due time. How many times has God heard and answered our prayers at desperate times, and yet after a while, we doubt the intervention of God and attempt to apply reason to the outcome?
It seems that God is ever willing to come through for us, but our double-mindedness always stands in His way. In exodus 32:35, God struck the people He loved with a plague because of the golden calf Aaron had made. God hates sin, and our sinning, and especially in trusting other things/people that appear more ‘visibly real’, also known as idolatry, ends up in our suffering though most times we are never aware of it.