The book of Exodus in the Old Testament is an exciting book to read, especially the first half. It describes the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and then follows their journey into the wilderness, on route to the Promised Land. For centuries the Israelites had cried out to God in their oppression, and at the designated time, God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and raised up a deliverer. He had seen the Israelites` misery. God had heard their cries for help, and by mighty acts, through Moses, He delivered his people. They even plundered the Egyptians as they left Egypt; receiving from them articles of gold, silver and clothing. Laden with flocks, herds and treasure, they hastily and boldly exited the land of their bondage ( Exodus 12:33-35, and 14:8 ).
Before very long Pharaoh and his army are pursuing Israel in the wilderness and the people are absolutely terrified. An understandable reaction, I think. I would have been terrified too. Again God intervened mightily on their behalf, parted the Red Sea and drowned the advancing army of Pharaoh. This enemy would never bother them again. In response, the Israelites break out into songs of praise to God and jubilant celebration. They sing, `I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song and he has become my salvation` (Exodus 15:1-2). The noise of their singing would have been heard for miles around.
But it didn`t take long for the Israelites to start moaning and groaning about the new hardships they were encountering. After all they`d seen and all they`d experienced, they`re recorded as saying, `is the Lord among us or not?` (Exodus 17:7).
I don`t know about you but I find that statement incredulous. I want to shake some sense into those Israelites and say, `What`s wrong with you people? What do you mean `Is God with us?` Have you so soon forgotten His mighty acts on your behalf? Why don`t you just humble yourselves and ask for God`s help again, instead of moaning and groaning and turning your hearts back towards Egypt? You people are unbelievable.`
It`s so easy to become self-righteous when you read this narrative, and I fell into this trap myself. `I wouldn`t have acted like that` I muse to myself. Then the truth pierces me like a sword and I realise I probably would have. In the same situation I probably would have acted just like they did ... Gulp!
I wonder how often you and I have questioned whether God was still with us, as we encountered various difficulties and heartache. It’s not that we haven`t seen God move on our behalf in the past, because we have. Perhaps not to the scale that the Israelites personally experienced, but we were delivered nevertheless, and just in time. All those instances were not coincidental. We cried out to God in our distress, He heard our cry and sent help from heaven. He even answered sometimes when we didn`t have faith that He would. He`s not just powerful, but merciful and long-suffering as well! I`m so grateful for that fact.
If you`re wondering today `Is God with me or not`, then stop wondering! He is!! I repeat that. He is!! God has promised never to leave you or forsake you, so don`t be tempted to doubt in the darkness what you knew to be truth in the light.
Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for all the times that I`ve doubted that You were still with me. I choose to put my hand in Your hand today and follow close behind You. Thank You that You`re bigger than any problem I have or challenge I`ll face this day. The God who delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt is also my God. I praise His holy name, Amen.
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