“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” (Exodus 15:13)
Can you imagine the party that was going on that day? The Israelites had just escaped the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea on dry land. God opened the waters allowing them to pass through and when the Egyptian army tried to cross, they were drowned in the sea. God let the water loose and it overcame them. They had just witnessed a miracle. It was awesome. The Egyptian army was destroyed and God prevailed. God had sustained them, protected them and set them free. And they were celebrating. They were singing and dancing and praising God. It must have been one serious party.
The Israelites sang of God’s love. They knew, in that moment, that all of their prayers, groans and pleas had been answered by a God who loved them with an unfailing love. They couldn’t help but sing praises to the One that had redeemed them. Just days before, they had been slaves. They worked day and night praying for relief. And now, with the Egyptian army dead, they were free. God had won the victory and spared their lives. He had set them free and in response, His people celebrated. They sang, they danced, and they were filled with joy. They had no doubt that the God of their forefathers loved them.
The Israelites didn’t party for long though. Soon they were moving again toward the Promised Land. What they didn’t seem to understand was that this would be no easy task. Anything worth having generally comes with work. And within three days, they were complaining again. They were grumbling because they were thirsty. They wanted to go back to Egypt. I think it’s interesting that they had so quickly forgotten the song they were singing. They had forgotten the miracle. They had had forgotten that they were free. Instead they chose to become slaves to dissatisfaction.
This reminds me of my younger son. He came home from school one day and decided he wanted to join Boy Scouts. He was enamored with the idea of shooting a bb gun. He was thrilled beyond belief with the thought of shooting a bow and arrow. He saw all of the things he was going to experience and he wanted in. So, we let him join. His excitement over his new venture quickly waned when he realized that he has to wear a “dorky” uniform and complete certain tasks in order to earn badges. Here he was thinking it was going to be one big shooting party and now realized that he had to work. And so, Sunday night the inevitable happened. He decided he wanted to quit. He wanted to throw in the towel. This was too hard. The difficulties that lie ahead outweighed his desire to shoot weapons.
We all do it. We get excited when things are good and our joy is replaced with groaning at the first difficult task. We forget that these trials are all a part of God’s plan. This is the same God that we proclaim loves us with an unfailing love. But when we can’t see Him working or perceive that He is not answering our prayers, we complain. We feel unloved. We want to give up. Our joy is easily replaced with despair over the simplest discomfort. We only want to praise God when life is easy and He is answering our prayers. We feel neglected when He is requiring work from us.
The Israelites had their good and bad moments as they walked the dessert anticipating the Promised Land. There were times of suffering followed by times of gratification. There were times of fear followed by times of comfort. It’s a picture of what life here on earth is about. It’s a series of ups and downs. And through everything, they grew in their determination to never give up. They stayed the course and learned to depend on God. Eventually, their children reached the Promised Land. It didn’t come without cost due to disobedience, but God delivered on His promise. They received the prize in the end.
Just like the Israelites, my son is required to persevere. And his drive was once again renewed when he received his first patch. He wants to continue on to see what’s coming next, rejuvenated to complete what he’s started. It will take some work on his part, but it’s good for him. It will not only give him a good foundation for his behavior but will teach him skills that he wouldn’t otherwise learn. Hopefully, he will choose to make the journey something enjoyable instead of miserable. He has that choice and so do we.
Every day we have a choice to either accept the fact that the love of God is unfailing, or that we are not loved at all. His love is unmoved by our circumstances. His love is unchanged by our attitude. His love always prevails. If only we had that solidified in our hearts.