“The LORD performed great wonders and miracles yet the Israelites went astray.” It’s really summed up well in Hebrews 3:8-10 “Do not harden your hearts as in the day of rebellion…where your fathers tested me, tried me and saw my works….’they always go astray in their hearts and they have not known my ways’.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say something like “I don’t understand how they could have such a huge miracle like that and walk away from God.” And I admit and agree that seeing the plagues come down on Egypt or watching the parting of the Red Sea… well it doesn’t get much bigger than that unless you’re talking about the resurrection and no one actually watched Jesus rise from the grave if you think about it.
But here’s my annoyance – and I’ve done it too so I’ll complain about myself before I complain about anyone else – how many times have I personally experienced a miracle and then allowed my heart to go astray from the Father? How many times have I received an amazing gift or provision from the Father and then turned around as if it hadn’t happened or wasn’t really a miracle? And I have the gall to judge the Israelites? I stand them up and parade them around as if I’m somehow superior to them?
“Well that windfall wasn’t as impressive as parting the red sea, I mean it wasn’t like Elijah versus the Baals right?”
And I don’t know enough about miracles to say if receiving a bit of help with the groceries can at all be compared to manna falling from heaven (although that really sounds like apples to apples to me) but there are a couple of simple facts that I do see in both narratives.
- God provided and demonstrated His love for His people in amazing ways. – Manna from Heaven, parting the Red Sea etc for the Israelites; A baby boy, provision for my family, direction and all kinds of blessings for me.
- God’s people didn’t recognize it or didn’t think it was impressive enough as we both walked away. The Israelites had a golden calf, and I created one out of career, recognition, and comfort.
- God forgave His people and took them back when we repented.
Now if you sit there and say “I’ve never turned my back on a miracle” I feel really bad for you because that means you missed Him entirely. (cf Matthew 11:20-24) The simple truth is that God has done amazing things for all of us … let me start that thought over.
The simple truth is that God has done amazing things for me (I hope he’s done amazing things for you but I can’t really say) and it is the height of arrogance and sin for me to hold up someone as less than myself just so that I can feel better about my own inadequacies and shortcomings in my walk with Jesus. Such a thing cheapens and dishonors the sacrifice on the Cross that was made for all people.
God forgive me… again.