Hello again, all! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in a while. In the meantime, I got a job, did a lot of sewing, and worked on catching up with The Journey 2011. I am proud to report that I am now once again on target, reading every night, and finding awesome stuff!
Since I haven’t blogged on The Journey in a while, let’s back up a bit to Exodus and look at some of what’s going on there. Quick summary, Bible in a minute style: Slavery in Egypt, “Let my people go!”, plagues, Passover, Red Sea, yay God… “Why didn’t you just let us die in Egypt?”
Seriously, that’s what they said. As I was reading through Exodus, I kept getting so frustrated and wanted to just pop back in time and Gibbs slap the entire nation of Israel. (If you don’t know what a Gibbs slap is, watch this.) Check out the timeline:
· God rescues his people from Egypt in an especially miraculous and dramatic fashion, terrifying the Egyptians to the point that they actually kick the Israelites out. Along the way, he institutes the Passover celebration so that the Israelites can remember this event every year. (Exodus 11-12)
· Pharaoh comes storming out with his army, trapping Israel with their backs up against the Red Sea, and they start to panic. “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:11)
· Red Sea, poof! And they walk through on dry ground. Faith returns. “Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31)
· Israel complains for water; God gives them water. (Exodus 15:22-27)
· Israel complains for bread and wishes for the “good old days” of plenty in Egypt (come on, guys, you were slaves!); God gives them manna from heaven. (Exodus 16)
· Israel complains for water and whines that God is trying to kill them (notice the escalating whininess?); God gives them water. (Exodus 17:1-7)
· Israel sees the glory of the Lord on the mountain, with smoke and thunder and lightening. (Exodus 19:16-20)
· Moses disappears for a while to talk to God; in the meantime the people decide that they need a god they can see—they seem to have forgotten the light show of just a few chapters ago—so Aaron makes them a golden calf to worship. “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4)
Brilliant. Just brilliant, guys. *Gibbs slap.*
And this is basically the pattern for the rest of the Old Testament, escalating to the point that Israel gets themselves exiled for their false-god-chasing ways. It’s like they’ve got some kind of spiritual amnesia.
I’m so glad I’m never like that.
Okay, okay, thank you, Boss.
You know, I said this was an old Testament pattern, but maybe it’s more of a human pattern. How often do we suffer from spiritual amnesia?
How often do I encounter God and then the next day act like it never happened?
How often does God come through for me in a big way—providing something just when I need it, reassuring me of his love just when I’m having doubts, proving in a million little and big ways that he hears my prayers—and the next time I’m in that situation, I don’t trust God to come through again?
How often do I experience God’s extravagant love for me and extravagantly swear my love in return, and then promptly go and flirt with other little gods—TV, Facebook, my own ego, anything I put more priority on than living out my love for him?
How often do I just plain forget to invite him into my day, and let him get crowded out with busyness—or even just busy laziness?
Spiritual amnesia. Somehow I just don’t remember.
But God remembers.
Jeremiah 2:2, 32 “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me into the wilderness… Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” Can you hear the sorrow in this last statement? God is comparing us forgetting him to a bride showing up at her wedding without her wedding dress. It breaks his heart. He longs for the days when we were truly believing and devoted.
He is jealous to be our center once again.
And he never gives up. He keeps on pursuing, keeps on offering himself to us. Look at the story of Israel. God never gave up on them—yes, he punished them when they got too far off track, but he always brought them back. He was patient, and he still used them to bless the whole world in spite of themselves.
Thank God he does the same with me.