“And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. and I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened (listened) not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.”Exodus 6:7-9
Several years ago, I was asked to go to a week of summer teen camp to help our church’s new youth pastor. He was young and inexperienced, and in all honesty, I was really the one responsible if things went well or poorly. The youth pastor drove an SUV he had borrowed from someone in the church, I drove the church’s 15-passenger van, and he recruited another driver who had just bought a brand new truck. The truck carried most of the luggage in the bed and it did not have more than a thousand miles on it. All of the kids wanted to go in the truck as it was definitely way cooler than a 15-passenger van.
The truck ripped through the mountains as we struggled to keep pace, and we were well on our way when the driver of the truck had a brilliant idea. He had a computer that was loaded with a GPS system that indicated he could get us to camp 30 minutes faster. The youth pastor decided to adopt this idea, and as you can probably guess, we soon were lost and hours behind schedule. The kids used up much of their spending money at the first gas station we stopped at and they were not happy as it was late into the night and we were already supposed to be at the camp. Tempers rose and the kids who were once excited to be riding in the new truck were now ribbing the driver who got us lost.
It’s amazing what can happen in just a few hours when things go south. I had to step in and calm the kids down as they became disrespectful and things started to get heated. I shook my head as I could not believe how quickly the teens forgot their original excitement and turned against the driver. The more I think about it now, the more I realize I am quite the same way as I quickly forget God’s promises. The Israelites, when reminded of God’s promises, did not want to hear them or be reminded of them. Their spirits were crushed and they felt hopeless, even though they were given tremendous words of hope by their leader.
I grew up in church and around the Word of God for as far back as I can remember. I heard the stories of David defeating Goliath and the parting of the Red Sea. I learned of the rainbow God placed in the sky to show His promise that He would never again flood the earth, and I saw firsthand rainbows appear after monsoon rain. I learned of all the promises of God, but it did not always mean that I remembered them when I needed them the most. In adverse situations, at times we forget the promises of our God, and we choose to focus on our problems as if there is no hope.
In times of despair, we often turn to complaining and looking within ourselves or to others around us, instead of looking to our God who is above us. The children of Israel knew about the promised land and they knew of the promise God had made to their forefathers, but yet did not want to hear about it and were not encouraged by it. Are you discouraged by the trial you are in? Are you resting in the promises of God, or are you troubled as one without hope? Are you looking to yourself or other people instead of falling on your knees and casting your burdens upon Him? No one knows God’s promises like God, and He is the only One who never fails. May we stand on the promises of God, and may we pray instead of complain.