In the Bible, Moses wrote about Israel’s experience of coming out of Egypt and into the desert. God led them through the desert and brought them to Himself. A people, descended from Abraham himself, went from being a nation of slaves to a nation whose God and King was the Creator of Heaven and Earth Himself.
This story of how a people brought from slavery and into the promised land to be a kingdom of priest and a holy nation, is told throughout the pages of Scripture.
In the Old Testament, Israel is often referred to as God’s ‘wife’ and the desert experience certainly shows how God led, disciplined, loved and brought Israel to become his ‘wife’. The 10 commandments as we call them is not a list of rules of do’s and don’ts, but a marriage agreement about if the nation of Israel wanted to be God’s treasured possession, his wife, in effect, then here’s how the agreement works. Today, in marriage we also make vows about how we will live life together.
How did Israel come to know God? God led them into the desert. In the desert people experience hardships, but they also came to know God who provides, shelters, gives living water, is their shepherd, caries his people on eagle’s wings.
How does this help us understand God today? We, like Israel, will go through desert experiences. There will be hardships, ill health, trials, situations beyond our control that happen to us? Why do these things happen? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that Jesus told us in John 16:33, ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So being a Christian, doesn’t mean an easy life; actually, I find it’s often the opposite. However, the difference is this. I don’t do life alone; I do life with God. And in the most difficult situation, whether health, job, financial, family, community, faith, God is there and He provides me enough to take the next breath, the next step; moment by moment through the difficulty.
That’s what Israel learnt. God provides and cares. He also will chasten and discipline. Why? Because he wants us to live our best life, here, now and know Him personally.
James 4:8a says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”