We all know the story of the Israelites and there journey in the desert for forty years but what most of us probably don’t know is the reason why. The common reason given by most woman is that Mosses was a man and would not ask for directions, to that men respond that they were not lost in the desert, they just took the scenic path. But both reasons are wrong. Funny, but wrong.
The issue with the Israelites was simple, they didn’t listen. That’s it, they just didn’t listen. For their lack of listening skills they spent forty years walking around.
7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
9where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ "
Hebrews 3:7-19 (NIV)
The years spent in the desert were years used to teach listening skills. Back in the day they didn’t have Dale Carnegie classes or online courses on listening and besides God knows better how to teach us than we do.
As the above passage stated, they failed to hear his voice and they harden their hearts. In modern terms, they thought they new better, the only looked at the moment and not at were they came from (slavery) to were they are going (the Promised Land). They acted like, well humans, always knowing better.
the story of the exodus is one of my favorites, in-fact the first book I wrote for my company (STATIC Solutions, LLC) Becoming: Free the story of The Exodus. The book is used for our middle school youth education program and is recommended for the sixth grade. The book centers on the years in the desert, the forty years of testing God or better yet God testing them. But the lessons learned in this story are timeless and ageless.
- Forgiveness (The Israelites had to forgive Mosses and Mosses himself)
- Trust (They had to trust Mosses and Aaron)
- Faith (faith in God to lead them to safety)
- Humility (humility in our own limitations)
- Honor (honor of or history)
- Respect (respect of our nation)
We have much in common with the Israelites, we too need to spend time in Gods class room learning all the skill sets above. And we also, like the Israelites, need to learn to listen. God has been teaching us these lessons from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve failed the exam the Israelites failed as have we.
Lent offers us our own time to enter in to the desert, a time to review the lessons God has taught us and to maybe even learn a new lesson or two. Lent is the Churches way of giving us an excuse to enter into Gods class room and to hear his voice.
As a Lenten activity I would recommend that you read the story of the Exodus, but don’t watch a movie, read the bible and allow God to speak to you through His words. To allow God to speak, we have to listen, we have to open our hearts, or as the above passage states, “If today I hear your voice, harden not my heart”.
|The New American Commentary – Volume 2 – Exodus|
|Acts 4:10,12“then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
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