PSALM 106:6-15 (NLT)
6 Like our ancestors, we have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
7 Our ancestors in Egypt
were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.[a]
8 Even so, he saved them—
to defend the honor of his name
and to demonstrate his mighty power.
9 He commanded the Red Sea to dry up.
He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
10 So he rescued them from their enemies
and redeemed them from their foes.
11 Then the water returned and covered their enemies;
not one of them survived.
12 Then his people believed his promises.
Then they sang his praise.
13 Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
14 In the wilderness their desires ran wild,
testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but he sent a plague along with it.
It’s amazing to me how anyone can think that The Bible is an outdated book, lacking current relevance. Solomon was right when he wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. This passage is just one of many that backs up this jewel of wisdom. In this one Psalm, we have the history of God’s ancient people, and God’s current people.
Here’s the flow: God’s people, the Hebrews, called out to God for deliverance. They were slaves, helpless at the hands of their oppressors. God called Moses to lead this movement. Pharoah refused; God spoke; Pharoah still refused; pattern repeats. Until Pharoah finally agrees to let them go. Then he changes his mind and sets out in pursuit of them. THEY are at the Red Sea and no bridges or boats around. They are scared they are about to die. They whine at Moses, but God intervenes and gives a promise: “You will get to the Promised Land, and you will never see these Egyptian soldiers again.” God parts the water, they cross over. The Egyptians follow and God closes the Sea and dead soldiers everywhere.
They head towards The Promise and God does 3 things:
- He provides for their physical needs
- He leads them all the way
- He assures them He is with them through the Pillar of Cloud during the day and a Pillar of Fire at night
These 3 things occur 24/7. And how do they respond? Here’s the Cliff Notes Version:
- They whine about fresh food from heaven that costs nothing and which they did nothing to produce it
- They can’t wait for Moses to return from consulting with God, so they make an idol they can see.
- They whine some more, a lot more
- They face some enemies threatening them but God promises Victory and it happens
- They get to the edge of the Promised Land, God still providing, leading, and assuring them of His Presence, and they give up without even trusting.
- They want a new leader and go back to Egypt–to slavery–but at least they would have garlic and onions–slavery for sure–but oh, those good old onions!
So what does God do? God gives them what they asked for: denying them entrance into The Promise. They all die (except Joshua and Caleb)–in the wilderness. They never tasted those wonderful onions in Egypt–the land of slavery and oppression. But they got what they asked for–to turn away from The Promise.
Don’t be hard on those Hebrew children. It’s happening in our culture today. God offers us The Promise–The Promise of Life–Life that is full and meaningful–Life that happens through dying to self and self-interests. Instead people choose to go back in the direction of slavery and oppression all to satisfy their selfish desires.
The Promise of God is that through giving we receive. Through helping we are helped. Through listening we are heard. Through humility we are lifted up. Through dying we begin to live, really live. Instead, this Post-Christian culture has opted-in for selfishness, entitlement, fear, hate, blame, hate, and thousands of other destructive mindsets–all in the name of finding life.
The rejection of God’s Truth, as revealed in the Bible, has given people just what they’ve asked for–the politics of hate and fear, and settling for lifestyles that are nothing but onions in the land of oppression. Don’t misunderstand me, I love a good onion and garlic seasoning. But here’s what I’m learning: When we human beings decide what is good and not good, right and wrong, people are led back to oppression and bondage.
Why is our nation in the mess its in? Simple, the majority are wanting onions and garlic rather than The Promise of God–a life that is rich in meaning and profoundly filled with purpose. I just remembered an old Burger King® advertising campaign from years ago: “Have it your way.” From thinking they are entitled to whatever they want to sexual identities to ethics to morality and even to the definition of “right and wrong”, when we have it “our way” the result is…..well just watch the news…..onions, leeks, garlic for everyone–but also bondage and oppression….
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!