As we are closing out another month in our travels and we are almost through the Book of Numbers; I am again reminded of the many historical stories that are so important for us to understand and remember as they are mentioned so many times in the New Testament. I am completely convinced that understanding the New Testament relies in part on understanding the Old Testament. It is all connected together to form one big picture, like a puzzle. Some nights when I have difficulty falling asleep, I start in Genesis and mentally put the pieces together to make sure I don’t forget any of God’s perfect picture He has planned. I can always see the evidence of God’s hand in everything that is told.
Lets review where our journey together has taken us so far. By understanding the survival of Noah and his family from the flood; we see God choose Abraham to be the father of His chosen people. By Abraham’s faith to follow God, we learn about faith and trusting God, too. It’s understanding the Covenant God made with Abraham that leads us into the rest of the story of the Israelites and all that they have been through. We see their failures and their triumphs and recognize them to be so much like our own failures and triumphs.
We realize that Joseph had to end up in Egypt in order for his family to be saved during a terrible time of famine. Remember God told Abraham what his seed would be: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord..” Genesis 15:5-6 NKJV
Knowing that makes it easier to see that the Israelites could still be there in Egypt 400 years later, but now as slaves. They had grown from a family of 60 to a large group of 600,000. This could be quit a threat to a Pharaoh if he would lose control. But, that was all part of God’s plan. Now Pharaoh had ordered the Israelite baby boys to be killed in order to keep their population from increasing so fast. Enter Moses! Having being saved by the Pharaoh’s daughter, he had never been a slave. But, he remained an Israelite at heart. It would take 40 years before that part of God’s plan began to unfold. God choose Moses to finally lead His people out of slavery and to the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A lesson for us that God is true to His Word…in His own timing!
We have seen God’s Almighty power when we read of the plagues He had brought on Egypt before the Israelites were allowed to leave. We have read and understand the symbols related to the Jewish Passover meal that reflect Jesus. We know that they left Egypt with treasures and all they would need and more for their journey. How can we ever forget the parting of the Red Sea so they could cross over on dry land! And the miracle of the Angel of the Lord leading them as a pillar of cloud during the day and a light of fire during the night!
We spent a lot of time on the building of the Tabernacle: God’s dwelling place among them. Each article made was symbolic of Jesus and His saving grace! The Ten Commandments given to God’s people are still moral rules that a community should live by; and are laws given for believers even today! The laws that followed in Leviticus and Numbers were necessary for them to live together and for atonement for their sins because their Messiah had not yet come.
We have journeyed with them in the wilderness through all the complaining and whining and then forgiving; only to be repeated over and over again. We have watched as God divided them into 12 tribal groups according to the linage of Jacob’s sons. We understand, too, that the tribe of Levites were to be the priests and would be treated differently from the other tribes. We recognize how sacred and holy the Tabernacle and it’s furnishings were and the seriousness of the Pentecost festival when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies!
We have seen severe punishment to those who refused to listen to God. We are in awe of the miracle of Aaron’s staff blooming and budding. The image on a pole that saved those who looked upon it, reminds us of the saving grace we have been given by the death of Jesus on the cross! The miracle of water appearing when Moses struck the rock; and the cost he paid for losing his temper and disobeying the LORD!
We know that the Israelites could have reached their Promised Land in very few days; but God knew they were not wise enough; they weren’t strong enough; and they had to find their faith in “I AM” before they would be ready to take the land! Because of their lack of faith demonstrated when eight of the ten spies exaggerated what they saw in Canaan; the generation that left Egypt would never enter into the Promised Land, except Joshua and Caleb. It would take 40 years instead. In all that time we see that God furnished them food for each day, the Mania; and their clothing and sandals would never wear out.
This all makes me think of the special service we had Sunday morning at Mountain Grove Church. The Youth Pastor gave his testimony and it was a great one! It served as a reminder to all of us, that God is still in control; everything has a purpose and God acts in His own timing if we only believe and accept Him! How about your testimony? Can you look back and see God’s hand?! Isn’t it exciting to know He still is at work in your life! His plan is still in the making!!! Be sure to share that with someone else today!!