March 24, 2024

Had They Forgotten God?

Exodus 16:3
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Author
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Sarah Blount

Lead Pastor

If you have ever attempted to take children on a vacation, you can relate a teensy (very teensy) bit to Moses and Aaron. Imagine what they must have been feeling as the Israelites hurled irrational and senseless complaints their way, thus God's way. After all, God brought them out of Egypt and rescued them from the wretched life they are now reminiscing about as if those were the good ol' days.  

Any parent knows it doesn't take long for the Happiest Place on Earth to turn into the crankiest place on earth. No amount of freedom from school, homework, chores, and limited sugar intake can overpower a hungry tummy, long lines, peak sun, and a messed-up nap schedule. 

I can't guarantee you'll see your favorite character should you ever visit Disneyland, but I can guarantee that you'll see at least one small child melting down and throwing a fit in a moment of forgetfulness. Forgetting they have been counting down the days until this trip for months. Forgetting they would normally be in math class right about now and forgetting how Mom and Dad have saved all year long to take them on this vacation. 

The Israelites have only been in the wilderness for about six weeks, but they seem to have already lost sight of God's past faithfulness and his future plans for them. They are finally free and have seen God move in dramatic and unforgettable ways. How could they forget God's goodness and mercy so quickly?  

The thrill of freedom and excitement of the exodus were fading fast. This massive road trip was testing everyone's patience, and as their stomachs began to grumble, their words followed suit. Grumbly phrases like "if only," "remember when," and "it's all your fault" began to pollute the air. The Hebrew people could only think about satisfying their hunger, and selective memory gets the best of them.

They chose to forget about how they were forced to make bricks without straws, how they had been beaten and whipped by evil taskmasters, and how their midwives were ordered to kill all their newborn sons. They chose to forget how God had preserved them through the plagues, parted the Red Sea, and the song Miriam just sang about the faithfulness of Yahweh. The memories they selected to focus on were of the pot of meat and bread they had consumed in Egypt, and this leads them to think they would rather be full-bellied slaves than liberated and uncomfortable.  

We can't believe the Israelites would say such terrible things and begin to complain after the incredible way God rescued them, but we often struggle with the same besetting sin. The human heart is exposed in Exodus 16:3.

G. Campbell Morgan writes, Had they forgotten God? No, not wholly, but they were allowing the near, and the trivial, to make them for the moment unmindful of Him. 

In the same way, the nearness of the sun beating down on you while you stand in a long line or the triviality of not getting to ride the Dumbo with a purple hat can cause our children to be unmindful of the "Kingdom" we've paid a great price to bring them to, we can let the nearness of a bad report or the triviality of whatever has our attention on social media cause us for a moment (or more) to be unmindful of our Father and the Kingdom he paid a great price to bring to us. 

When the going gets tough or even just a little annoying, the unmindful get grumbling, and the more we grumble, the more deceived we become. We start living lies as serious as it would be better to return to the good ol' days of sin than to be a liberated son or daughter dealing with this trial, temptation, or hard day. We feel we deserve comfort, and if we aren't looking to the Lord, we'll find ourselves looking to the places we've been rescued out of through clouded "good ol' day goggles," longing for the fleshpot instead of longing to see God move again. 

Today, dear rescued one, keep your attention on the rescuer. When you are tempted to grumble, complain, or become fixated on the near and trivial things, take a moment to set your eyes on the Lord through the simple act of remembering. 

Remember when you were dead in your sin, and he reached out in love to rescue you. 
Remember when he made a way where there seemed to be no way? 
Remember all the times he turned the bitter trials of life into sweet victories. 
Remember how merciful he's been.
Remember how he comforted you with his presence. 
Remember who God is and who you are- no longer a slave, but a cherished son or daughter of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Psalm 16:8
I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

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What Are We Looking For in the Tabernacle?

The construction of the tabernacle found in Exodus can be one of those sections of scripture that can be easy for us to simply skim through, as a new covenant believing American Gentile. We are thousands of years removed from the culture, tools, materials, and measurements. What does acacia wood look like? How many feet are in a cubit? I didn’t even know you could weave thread from goat hair. Furthermore, the significance of the fixtures and furniture commanded by God to be constructed for consecration and worship are incredibly alien to us who worship God in renovated buildings with screens and speakers. In light of all this, we tend to exegete, or interpret the meaning or application of these chapters in Scripture, in one of two ways:

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David Terry
Executive Worship Pastor
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Exodus 31:14
You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people.

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Sarah Blount
Lead Pastor