“He is also head of the body, the church…so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18). If we were to put this verse into one overriding statement, it would be this: take God very seriously.
At a crucial juncture, the people doubted God’s promise and retreated into unbelief. The result? Monotonous wandering in circles for almost 40 years as all individuals 20 years and older died off, leaving a new generation to enter Canaan, the land of promise.
After 400 years of slavery to build edifices for a pagan king, God miraculously rescued the ancient Hebrews. When Pharaoh threatened to wipe them out at the Red Sea, God miraculously delivered them. It was time to celebrate, not complain.
Under Moses’s leadership, the Israelites left the painful but familiar setting of Egypt. With the yoke of slavery broken from their necks, God’s people followed Him into an uncharted, unpredictable, unexpected wilderness. Their destination? Canaan. They had struck out on a journey none of them had ever dreamed possible…and right away they faced trials that tested their faith.
After the Hebrews’ exodus from Egyptian slavery, they crossed the Red Sea and began the journey to Canaan. But in Numbers 11:1-6, we find the Hebrews growing increasingly discontent and determined to go back to the familiarity, security, and safety of Egypt—even if it meant personal slavery and direct disobedience to God.
The Christian life is the life of faith, but if we fail here, a shipwreck will occur…as it did to a whole generation of Hebrews. Compared to their failure, the Titanic and the Valdez were minor accidents.
Few positions carry with them more weight of personal responsibility than that borne by those who speak for God and those who claim to be called by Him.
The ancient Hebrews were like a child who loved to sing a silly song over and over…“same song, a little bit louder, and little bit worse.” And God wasn't amused.
Where can Christians turn when we’ve been pushed around, misunderstood, and bruised with adversity? The answer for us today is not unlike the answer for the ancient Hebrews. Following God’s Law, they set up “cities of refuge”—pockets of security and protection, where healing could happen. Places of spiritual refuge are just as needed today.