Reading the Old Testament is not easy for me. Some of it is nice and helps me understand the prophets of old better, but a lot is really hard to read.
One thing that really bothers me, and stands out to me, is how the Israelites don’t seem to learn from their sins and mistakes. God is dealing harshly with them because He seems to know that with them being so close together, and traveling through the wilderness, it is easy for anyone to influence someone else and so He punishes them right away so others won’t get tempted to do the same, but they just don’t seem to get it. Does Satan seriously have so much hold on their hearts that they simply can’t hear the spirit anymore? And if that’s not the case, do they purposely ignore the Holy Ghost and just don’t care?
As I was reading the chapters in Numbers this week, I just couldn’t understand how they didn’t learn anything. People were killed in different ways because of their sins, and yet the rest of them kept complaining and arguing against God and His commandments. They only seemed to see the negative, like being stuck in the wilderness, and not that Heavenly Father delivered them from Egypt. It makes me so sad that they didn’t see the blessings. If they would have been faithful the whole time, God would have been merciful with them and they would have reached their new destination already, but because they disobeyed and murmured, God was angry with them and had to react.
I totally understand that being in the wilderness and suffering a lot, is not fun and very hard to deal with, but they had Heavenly Father on their side. He provided for them and showed them miracles despite their complains. Chapter 20, verses 3-5 made that clear. It says:
“And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!”
“And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?”
“And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.”
Moses provided water with his rod as a result and yet it didn’t seem to impress the Israelites for long. They seemed to stay unhappy for whatever reason.
One thing that I am learning from this though is that we need to pay attention how we react to difficulties in life, and whether or not we show gratefulness or the opposite. We need to focus on seeing our blessings and trust that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing, even though we are going through some really hard times. We need to keep things in perspective and need to remember that we will have to suffer the consequences when we murmur, complain, and disobey the Lord. As sad as it is to see them not learning from their mistakes at all, it helps me understand that I need to work on learning from their mistakes and not be so stubborn and unteachable. God loves us and He blesses us because He loves us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have any trials. We can show Him best, how strong our faith is, by holding on to the iron rod, try to stay positive and let Him guide us.