Day 21: Saved, But Miserable
For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11)
What a sight it must have been! Chariots were overturned and washed away in torrents of water. Horses bellowed in fear and soldiers screamed in terror as the walls of water started collapsing upon Pharaoh and his mighty army. As the sea closed in over them and slowly grew calm, the people of Israel were awestruck at what they had just witnessed. Wide-eyed and with jaws agape, they watched as the bodies of soldiers and horses slowly rose up to dot the surface, bobbing up and down in their watery grave.
Could it be real? Feet shuffle. A throat clears. Finally, Miriam pulls out her tambourine and begins a dance of praise unto the Lord. Soon, others join in and a victory march begins, thousands of voices and hands lifted in praise to God for their deliverance.
If you could have talked with any of the Israelites that day, they would have boasted of God's greatness, and how they could not possibly ever doubt Him and His loving care. "Our God is a great miracle working God!" they would have proclaimed. "He has just defeated mighty Pharaoh right before our eyes! How could we doubt a God who just opened up the sea and then buried an entire army!"
These proclamations would have been true. From the depths of their hearts, the people of Israel would have been convinced of God's greatness and that they would never doubt Him. "Would we complain and speak words of unbelief against Him? Never!"
Yet, that is just what most of them did. And within only 3 days of their miraculous Red Sea crossing.
Like you, I too want to believe and trust God with all of my heart. Yet, when things go wrong, how quickly we can forget all His greatness and miracle working power. We start to doubt and perhaps even complain against Him. But how dangerous this can be for our walk with the Lord!
The writer of Hebrews warns us about the thousands of Israelites who were saved and set apart, whom God blessed and cared for. They were delivered and brought out of bondage. Yet, they never entered into God's rest. They never grew beyond a certain level of faith, and they never went forward into His fullness. Instead, they spent years wandering in the wilderness, living in a desert of doubt and unbelief. They were saved, but miserable. So miserable at times that they even considered going back to their lives of bondage. Their constant unbelief and doubting caused them not to enter the Promised Land, the land of rest. Instead, their walk with the Lord was highlighted by distress, confusion, worry, fear, hopelessness, and restlessness. With each new crisis or trial, they immediately began crying out in complaints and doubts, immediately forgetting what God had done for them in the past. Their words of doubt even spread to others, causing them to also not believe. They refuse to hear words of hope and faith, choosing instead to hold onto their fears.
I don't want this to describe me. And I know you don't as well. Today, let us make a new commitment to enter into His rest, to trust Him, and to put our lives into His ever-loving care. He has no motive but to provide for us what is best for us. To those who are heavy and burdened, He has promised to give rest. He has delivered you from bondage. He cares for you, and provides for you. The blood still washes away every sin, and the water still flows from the Rock. But aren't you tired of wandering, tossed by every wave of doubt and fear? There is peace and joy to be found, a land of rest flowing with milk and honey. It's already there inside of us. We just need to lay hold of it.
Sit Down and Make a Faith List
God cried out in a lament toward the people of Israel, "How long will they provoke Me? How long will it be before they believe Me, for all of the signs I have showed among them? (Numbers 14:11). The people refused to obey and they were not "mindful of Your wonders that You did among them." (Numbers 9:17)
To build your faith, and in thankfulness to God, sit down and begin making a list of all of the things God has done for you in the past. Every answered prayer. Every unexplained or unexpected blessing. Every miracle. No matter how great nor how small. Write them down. Keep the list handy as other blessings come to your mind, and write them down as well. Be mindful of His wonders He has done for you. Beginning today, let us put aside every weight, let us put aside our doubts and fears, and let us strive diligently to enter His rest. The Promised Land awaits.