When studying the Scriptural history of the Israelites, it’s important to remind ourselves that they were no different than you and me.
They were just people.
True, they were a set apart people elected to serve God, but still just people nonetheless, who went through the normal day-to-day struggles, temptations, and worries we all experience.
Viewing their life from this perspective can be reassuring, because then we can understand that they struggled to put the promises of God and all His Laws and commands into practice as much as we struggle to do so today.
I’m sure when the ancient Israelites paused to reflect and remind themselves of the glorious future the Lord had promised to them, there were days of hope.
Yet, I’m also sure there were many times when the promises of God seemed so distant and faraway and the difficulties of immediate circumstances overrode any thoughts of God’s plans for them.
Sometimes just getting through the day was more than enough to handle.
Another important point we need to remember is that just like us they also struggled with how to best implement God’s spiritual principles into their lives as circumstances changed.
We sometimes assume that the only major transition Israel experienced was from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
In other words, we have a misleading tendency to view Israelite history according to a BEFORE YESHUA/AFTER YESHUA paradigm.
However, this paradigm is false.
There were several other MAJOR TRANSITIONS the Israelites went through:
They transitioned from a time of slavery in Egypt to a time of freedom.
They transitioned from a time of servitude to Pharaoh to a time of service to YHVH.
They will eventually transition from a time of wandering to a time of possessing their own land.
Later, they will transition from serving the Lord at the Tabernacle to the Temple.
They will go from a tent to a glorious wood and stone building of monumental proportions.
And through all of these major changes, from Egypt to Sinai to Canaan, Israel would struggle with how to best apply God’s Torah in their new environments.
What was particularly challenging is that many situations arose that weren’t specifically addressed in the limited instructions they received from Moses.
Yet the Lord expected AND EXPECTS His People to incorporate the Laws, Commands, and Spiritual principles into our lives.
Here’s an interesting point.
In the TANACH (Old Testament), we find the leaders of Israel over and over again attempting to change, dismiss and rebel against God’s principles as established in Torah.
We will find over and over again in the TANACH the leaders of Israel saying that God’s principles were from a long time ago and didn’t apply to them anymore.
Does this sound familiar?
They were basically saying that God’s principles had been done away with.
I can’t think of any other way to look at it.
What were the consequences of this type of thinking?
We’ll see as we get deeper into the TANACH that the consequences not just for the leaders of Israel but for the common people were disastrous.
God’s heavy hand of judgment came crashing down on Israel hard due to this kind of thinking.
As believers, we are faced with the same responsibility that faced those Hebrews in the Sinai desert so many years ago.
We have to STUDY God’s Word and then prayerfully consider how it is to be applied to our current situation.
God’s Word is not to be re-interpreted for our time, but RE-APPLIED to our present circumstances!