The Israelites had so many enemies against them. I was reading in Joshua today [well, I’ve been reading it all week, actually..], and I came to this verse. “… Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.” [Joshua 10:14, TNIV]

It made me think of when God brought them out of Egypt and they crossed the Red Sea. Pharoah and his army chased after them, but this is what Moses told the people: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” [Exodus 14:14, NIV]

Again and again He proved His goodness, protection, provision, and love for them. And still we read accounts like this one of when a neighboring army came and told Israel they were from far away and wanted to make a peace treaty with them. They brought old, moldy bread and worn-out clothes so it would look as though they’d come a long way… “So the [Israelite] men partook of their food and did not consult the Lord.” [Joshua 9:14, Amplified Bible]

So they ended up making this treaty without any guidance from God.

It’s such an easy thing to read all about the Israelites, see how God so continually blessed them and provided for them, how they kept turning away and doing their own thing, following their own agenda, rather than trusting God… and then to kinda point our fingers at them and wonder how in the world they could do such a thing. How could they see all that God had done for them and then make choices without going to Him about them? And how could they wish they were back in Egypt when it was their own lack of trust and their own complaining hearts that brought their unhappiness to them?

Yet… I don’t think looking at them and asking these questions is the right course of action unless we choose to also ask these questions of ourselves. Because we are just as guilty of leaning on our own understanding as they were, and really, we have the same consequences too. It just seems to be clearer to us as we look at them rather than ourselves, because with them we can see so much more of the big picture. In our own lives we can only see a little bit at a time. And once the past is past, it becomes more and more distant, drifting further from our memories so that all God’s blessings and provisions don’t seem as nearby as they once did.

So we need to ask as we look at the Israelites why we act that way… and then we need to ask what we can do to change it. Ask God. He gives wisdom freely to those who ask and believe. James 1:5

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