I find it extremely interesting, and a bit alarming that the Israelites turned their backs on God so many times in the old testament. Over and over and over again, from just weeks into their march from Egypt headed to the Promised Land, all the way up to Malachi, we see them harden their hearts, turn from God, make idols for themselves and worship stones. The interesting thing is that the Israelites saw God’s handiwork and communicated directly with Him more than any other person/peoples ever.
They witnessed the plagues in Egypt. They saw Pharaoh harden his heart ten times, and they saw God’s Power work and Pharaoh sent them away, loaded with gold and many gifts. They literally saw him go from holding on to his slaves with tight fists, refusing to surrender to GOD, to basically paying them to leave so that God will stop sending punishments on his Kingdom. They saw a river roll back like a scroll and literally stop flowing and the ground at the bottom was dry. They saw God’s glory and presence in the camp EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF EVERY SINGLE DAY, in the day it was as a cloud, and during the night a ball of fire. The Israelites whined and accused God of saving them only to kill them in the desert. God sent a food that satisfied and provided all the nutrients and abundance that they needed every single day, and it fell like the dew. But it wasn’t enough for them and they complained once more. So God sent quail that feel like rain from the sky. God provided water, springing from dry ground and rocks. They saw the glory of God cover a whole mountain! They saw him in a Cloud filling the Tabernacle which He commanded them to build. With God fighting with them, they defeated giants, and conquered nations that were well established. They saw the walls of a city crumble after they simply walked around it 13 times. (Yes, it was 13. One time a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. ;) They saw the ground split open and swallow a ton of people alive for the sin of the head of their household. I could go on and on. God displayed his glory before the Israelites time and time again. And they kept turning away from him, even though they saw the miracles, they heard his words, they saw his Glory and his Presences in their midst.
What strikes me as even stranger than just their rejection, is the fact that they took idols for themselves. Jehovah, I AM, the KING OF KINGS, YHWH, Elohim (I could go on!) choose them from the very foundations of the earth as His People. He rescued them, cared for them, taught them, governed them, dwelt among them and over and over again they turned away and rejected Him.
They took idols for themselves. (????) Little carvings, engravings, statues, made by their own hands, set up before themselves, and they worshiped them. And guess what those little stone gods did for them? Nothing. (Okay, that’s my biggest pet peeve about other religions like Buddhists, or whatever, that have these horrible gods that haven’t actually ever done anything. Ever… Nothing. Zilch. Noodle. Kudos to you if you got that reference. ;) Really, my God breathed the stars into existence and He made you and He designed the Elephants, (which is awesome. I love elephants.) and He is alive and working today all over the earth. What’s your God done… ever? Sorry. It really bugs me!)
The Israelites saw God everywhere. But when it was more “convenient” they chose to reject him. People choose to believe what is convenient for their lifestyle and their choices, because we don’t want to admit our dependence and our obligation to our Creator and Savior. If we admit that there is a God and He created everything and therefore rules, we admit that we are under his authority and we must follow his commands.
I don’t know where I was going with all this… I guess it has to do with the fact that I keep seeing and focusing on God’s love and forgiveness. Over and over He forgave his Chosen and took them back, (although he never left them completely.) and started over and blessed them.
Today there aren't many experiences where God speaks in a thundering voice that could be heard on earth, or Prophets that speak directly from God, or rivers rolling up like scrolls so that people can cross them to flee huge armies, but we have the living and inspired Word of God that speaks directly to each one of us, and God is living and moving in the world. And we are still given free-choice about what we believe. We can reject God. We can pretend He doesn’t exist, and that He never has, or that He is there but has no power. We are given 100% free choice about all that.
But God will forgive. That’s the message I keep reading in the Old Testament. God is forgiving. He is just; He will demand punishment for the guilty, and He demands that we give Him everything, but He forgives. And He loves us. Oh how He loves us!!
(if you’re in doubt about God’s love, check out a few of these: John 3:16, Galatians 2:20, 1 John 4: 9-11, Ps 86:15, 1 John 3:1, Prov. 8:17.)
this is making me laugh. :)
What's God been showing you lately? I'd love to hear about it!!