A Prophet Raised Up
When Moses was 80 years old, he was called by God to lead the Israelites from Egypt, and return them to the land God had promised Abraham's descendants. The events concerning the calling of Moses are exciting, and should be read from God's own Word. (Exodus 3:15-). Moses was the only man ever recorded as having talked with God "face to face". And his face would become so radiant when at Sinai that he had to cover his face with a veil while in the presence of the Israelites!
God told Moses to go to Egypt and tell the Israelites that God, the God of their fathers, had heard their cries, and that Moses was there to lead them to the land that God had promised their fathers. Moses tried to talk God out of having him go to Egypt, but it ended up being the job he took on - God's will! Moses was given his brother Aaron as the one who could "speak for him"; and to be supportive for him. But it was Joshua, the son of Nun, who became the closest companion and successor of Moses. He went to Egypt, and performed miracles at God's hand to affirm God had sent him to the Israelites that they might believe, and placed plagues on the Egyptians to force them to let the people go.
From the very day they left Egypt and began their journey into the wilderness the children of Israel began grumbling about things that displeased them. Everything that God gave them, He gave with a promise and admonition to obey Him. They continually gave their promise to do all God asked of them, and yet they continually broke their promises. But God was patient with them and led them on, providing them with water, bread and meat, and their clothes did not wear out in the 40 years they were in the wilderness. And still they grumbled; and mankind is still grumbling and bemoaning the fact that they can’t have everything just the way that they want it to be.
After passing over the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled toward Mariah for three days, and there was no water except waters that were bitter. The Israelites complained. God commanded Moses to throw a certain tree into the waters, and they became sweet. (They had just left a life that was bitter for a life that God could make sweet, but they grumbled!) At that time God made a statute and an ordinance proving them, and said "If you will give the earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, and give ear unto His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptian’s: for I, the Lord, am your healer".
When they reached Sinai, they encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai. At that time God tried to draw thepeople nigh, and make of them a people peculiar to Himself, a royal priesthood. He told them what He wanted of them, and what He would do in return for them. But with the thundering, lightening and the quaking of the earth, they were afraid and trembled, and said "Let God speak to Moses, and then let Moses speak to us, and we will do as God commands." (Ex. 19: 1-7; Ex. 20:1-20)
So Moses went up on the mountain to "talk" with God, "face to face". There God gave him the ten commandments, written on stone tablets; the "Law". While he was on the mountain (40 days), the Israelites grew impatient and had Moses' brother, Aaron, make them a golden calf that they might worship; one of the promises they made to God that they would not do! And the people sat down to eat, and rose up to play. How quickly the human mind can forget what it promises! Even after seeing all the power of the miracles which God performed through Moses while they were still in Egypt! When God heard the reveling, he told Moses to get down from the mountain. The calf was melted, crushed, and sprinkled on the waters, and the Israelites were made to drink it. The choice was made by the Levites to serve God and they were commanded to take their sword and go through the camp. And there were about 3,000 slain that day. (Exodus 32).
After the tables of testimony were given the children of Israel, God told Moses to choose men of great talent and construct the necessary properties for the construction of the temporary tabernacle of God, to every specification which God would give. The book of Leviticus gives all the rules and regulations, ordinances and commands, diseases, health habits, punishments for disobedience and rewards for obedience particularly in chapters 5, 6 and 7. For those who would seek God’s will, and learn what He expects man’s life to be, would find the book of Leviticus an in depth study for his concern.
When the Israelites were drawing close to the land where God had promised to bring them, twelve spies were sent out to spy out the land and bring back reports of its fertility and beauty. When the spies returned Joshua and Caleb reported to Moses that they could go and take the land, for it truly was all that had been promised. But the others that had gone with them trembled at the fierceness of the land and the stature of the men. They gave bad reports throughout the camp, and convinced the people of the futility of trying to conquer the land. (Numbers 13:30-32.) God's anger was kindled, and He refused to allow the Israelites over 20 years of age at that time to enter into the land of Canaan. They then wandered through the wilderness, until that generation had all died, except for Joshua and Caleb, who had the faith that God could, and would, perform what He had promised. Even Moses was not allowed to enter Canaan, although he was allowed to view it, because he had "broken faith with God", for when God told Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth springs of water to give water to all the people and water all the stock, Moses in his anger struck the rock instead. (Numbers 20:12). But when Moses was about to be gathered to his people, he was taken up on the mountain (Mt. Nebo) and shown all the land of Canaan; all the land which had been promised to Abraham and his descendants.
When they reached the point just before entering Canaan, Moses gave exhortation to the Israelites, and reaffirmed God’s blessings if they obeyed, and the curses if they did not obey. He also prophesied of Christ's coming - the Prophet like unto himself, that would be the Spokesman for God, and every man would be required to listen to the word which God spoke through Him. (Deu. 18: 15-22; Deu. 30:8-11).
After the Israelites conquered Canaan, they began a journey through time to deal with lesson after lesson in what God wanted from them and how to achieve this goal. They would drift away from God, fall into disobedience, and be sent into captivity as judgment on their disobedience. Time after time the children of Israel grumbled and wanted to be like the rest of the world. God sent prophets to tell the people what He wanted and what would come to pass. He gave them blessings, and asked for their obedience. Still they grumbled. God gave them judges to keep peace among them. But time after time the children of Israel would do evil in the sight of God. Each generation drifted further from God, until God would deliver them into the hands of their enemy and they would remain in captivity until they repented and cried out to return to God. The Israelites wanted a king. God gave them kings, and still they fell into disobedience and corruption. Saul was their first king, and when he displayed arrogance and disobedience to God, he was removed and the throne was given to David.
David displayed obedience and faith even as a child, when he faced the giant Goliath alone in battle as a youth. Even though David sinned many times and tried to cover up his sins by sinning even more, he continually repented and sought forgiveness from God. He offered God a broken and contrite heart. God considered him a man after His own heart, and from David’s descendants came the promised Messiah.
The periods between the prophets and and the birth of Christ, the intertestamental period (also called the period of silence), was another time of learning for the children of Israel, and it was during this time that God became silent. There was no voice of a prophet to be heard. It took about two generations for the children to drift back into their sins and move away from God and His laws. We can still learn from the accounts of the events in these periods, because God does not change, and His principals are all taught there for us as well. One of the greatest lessons we can glean from it is the fact that even though we drift away in our sins, if we repent and turn again to God and His ways, we are given the opportunity to return to Him in repentance and obedience. We remain unforgiven only if we remain disobedient and refuse to return to God’s ways. God has always promised man if he would obey God and follow in His ways, that God would bless him. God promised many blessings if man would but obey, and that His promises were true, and would be kept, and Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age if we trust Him and obey God’s word.
The Israelites continued to fall into sin and disobedience until God became “silent”. This period of silence provided the completion of the sins of the Gentiles, bringing to fruition the “fullness of time” to bring the Messiah into the world. All things were now ready for the Word to be made flesh, and walk into the presence of sin, in order to offer propitiation for us that we might return to God as He had wanted us to be,a nation peculiar to Him; a royal priesthood; a people that would love and worship him from the heart.
The gentle rocking of the water
Soothes the boatman into sleep.
And the drifting boat yields
To the undercurrent of the deep.
And when the dreamer awakens
To the waves of the sea
He finds it is not himself the “rocker”
But the mighty waves that be.
And it is not the mighty waves
That the drifter needs to fear,
But the failure to keep ahold
Of the oars to keep the shore near.
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