If there is one thing that unsettles me, it is when I am lost. Unlike my husband who has an inbuilt compass, I cannot go anywhere without my phone, and just in case technology may fail, I dust off the old “Melways” for good measure! I like to know where I am headed, the route I will be taking and the estimated time of arrival.
So, I cannot imagine trekking through the wilderness for 40 Years! The Israelites found themselves in this position, knowing that they were heading to a land that God had promised, yet not knowing just how long the journey would take, what direction they were headed, and how far away this land was. After years of enslavement under the governance of Egypt’s Pharoah, God’s people were once again finally free!
It is easy to think of Pharaoh as the villain in all this, yet the Israelites were no angels either. During their wanderings and despite witnessing God’s love and provision, these people were hard to satisfy. Grumbling, moaning, complaining against Aaron and Moses, never content just to be in God’s presence. Then when Moses turned his back, they turned their back on God! It is absurd to think that Aaron not only allowed them to make another god but also instructed them on how to begin! Under his leadership he gave the direction to gather up their gold jewellery for the sole purpose of fashioning an idol for worship! Devoting their love and attention to nothing but an inanimate object! Absolutely crazy, isn’t it?
Now, before we start condemning their actions, let’s first step back and see how we rate, from one to ten, on the idol scale. In whom or what do we place our trust? Whom or what do we fear the most? Whom or what do we fashion into an idol? Do we wait on the Lord for his guidance and provision or are we gold gatherers?
God was furious! He was ready to destroy these wicked people, Moses asked God to remember the solemn promise he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then, as the Bible says; God relented. Why is God so patient toward us? The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
God’s patience is based on wanting all to come to him, giving opportunity after opportunity to turn from our idols and return to him whilst there is still time! If we ever question the patient longsuffering love of God, then the account of the Israelites should put our questions to rest. And if we ever question the length he will go to bring us to repentance, then we need look no further than Calvary.
In Jesus, we are no longer searching and wandering in the wilderness. Using God’s Word as our road map we know our destination; our compass always pointing to the cross. May God bestow the fruit of patience in us, patience to wait on the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your mercy and grace. Lead us to show patience toward others just as you have shown to us! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.