In my last post I began a review of the major events of Israel’s life leading up to where we are now in our Torah studies, the Book of Numbers, and finished off by pointing out that after nearly four centuries of slavery in Egypt, your average Hebrew probably had little hope that their dire circumstances would ever change.
And even when Moses showed up with his grand announcement that he had just been commissioned by the Almighty to rescue them, I’m sure the collective response of the weary Israelites was “Get lost!“
There is a very important takeaway here.
Have you ever let the dreariness of life suck whatever faith you might have had out of your very being?
Let’s face it.
You just lost patience.
Day in and day out you woke up, went to work, got through the day, came home, ate dinner, played with your kids, watched some TV and crashed.
And this same dreary pattern repeated itself daily for years.
There was no reason for you to anticipate anything awesome and exciting happening.
However, recall these words of Yeshua:
“For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes.”-Matthew 24:37-39
What I get from these verses is that there aren’t going to be some huge cataclysmic events that will occur before Yeshua returns.
The world will be carrying on like it always has, unaware and without faith.
Now think about the Israelites who had been slaving away for a good 400 years under their Egyptian task masters.
They weren’t expecting God to show up and rescue them.
And when Moses showed up, they didn’t exactly give him a warm welcome either.
However, recall that once God started moving, boy was it a roller coaster ride!!!
First, YHWH devastated Egypt with the plagues.
Then, he poured out the ultimate judgement on Egypt by killing all of their firstborn.
Next, within a mere 24 hours of that event occurring which was the first Passover, the Israelites hightailed it out of Egypt.
However, Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go so easily and like a mad man took his army and chased after the Israelites only to end up being drowned in the Red Sea.
There’s another important takeaway here.
Those of the world who sided with Pharaoh ended up dying with him while all those, who after witnessing the mighty power of the God of Israel, made the choice to join the Hebrews and ended up living!
I’m talking about the Egyptians, Canaanites, Hittites and others of the mixed multitude that left with Israel.
After Israel and the grafted-in mixed multitude left Egypt, a mere few weeks later they arrived at Mount Sinai where another momentous event occured: the Giving of the Torah.
This was the first time in the history of mankind that the Creator of the Universe verbatim handed down to a group of people His unfathomable wisdom in the form teachings, rules and regulations unlike anything any man has ever seen because wasn’t man-orignated.
Following the giving the of the Torah, the Levitical Priesthood was established and God’s earthly dwelling place, the Tabernacle, was built.
It was inside this portable tent where we’re told God met with Moses face-to-face.
Now again, I ask you to think about this point.
After only one year of leaving Egypt, YHWH had accomplished all of the following:
-He had redeemed Israel!
-He had given Israel a new constitution (the Torah)!
-He had kept Israel alive in the desert by feeding them MANA which if you think about it is one the greatest miracles ever!
-He had enabled Israel to triumph over their enemies when they were attacked!
Now imagine how you’re average Hebrew must have felt after all this.
Mind-blown to say the least!
Actually, I don’t think there are words to describe how they must have felt.
Everything they had ever considered important in their lives was in the blink of eye rendered worthless!
Here’s the thing and I’ve said this countless times before.
Just because the Israelites had left Egypt doesn’t mean that the Egypt inside them had left them.
Have you ever tried to break a bad habit like smoking or drinking or whatever?
It was darn hard, wasn’t it!
Well, that’s kind of the situation the Israelites found themselves in.
Yes, they had been chosen by God but it was going to take some serious work for them to overcome the many deeply entrenched Egyptian customs, mindset, and traditions that had become second nature to them over the years.
Keep this in mind as we walk through the Book of Numbers.
In a sense, we’re dealing with new believers.
Consider how you were when you were first born again and had just begun your walk with the Lord.
It was pretty tough and you stumbled quite a bit didn’t you?
Well, this is the young stage of development where Israel is at in the Book of Numbers.