Are We Like Them

Charles Pogue

As we read through both the Old Testament and the New, we may think ourselves amazed at the lack of understanding of people, their proclivity to disobey, and their obvious ignorance that they could trust in God. They apparently forgot the ways He had blessed them in the past. Many people were virtually blind to things that should have been obvious to them. Consider the children of Israel. God led them out of Egyptian bondage. He parted the waters of the Red Sea for them to cross over. He then caused the walls of water to collapse upon Pharaoh and his army, destroying them in the midst of the sea. Israel should have realized that if God did that for them, He would take care of them on the journey to Canaan, but they did not. They immediately began to complain about bitter water, nothing to eat, and finally no water at all. They should have understood that if God parted the sea the way He had, He would take care of all of their needs.

When they were given simple instructions not to gather more manna than was necessary for one day and not keep any overnight, some of them disobeyed. The surplus they gathered stank and was full of worms. God told them to gather twice as much on the sixth day, because there would not be any on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, some of them went out and looked for it, and found none. It is obvious that they had disobeyed the instructions of the previous day and went hungry on the Sabbath. People today look at them and say, “what an ignorant, thankless and disobedient people they were.”

Consider the Scribes and the Pharisees. They were well aware of Jesus power, because they saw the miracles that He performed. No man could do the things Jesus did and claim to be the Son of God, unless it were true. Those men, though, did not believe it. Instead of opening their eyes to the truth, they complained about people coming to be healed on the Sabbath day. They did not grasp the truth that Christ was Lord even over the Sabbath. Furthermore, they refused to consider that in condemning healing on the Sabbath, they condemned themselves, for they would take an ox to water or remove him from a ditch should he fall into one. The Lord called attention to their blindness, which was no different from that of their forefathers in the Wilderness. Today, people look at those people who lived in the days of Jesus and say, “how could they be so ignorant, blind, and lacking in just plain old common sense?”

As people today look back with amazement upon the disobedience of those of olden days, if they took an honest look at their own lives, they would discover there is not any difference between them and Israel, nor the hard hearted Scribes and Pharisees. The plan of salvation including repentance, confession and baptism could be no plainer than it is revealed in scripture, yet man by and large reject it. God has made plain the things that are evil, yet some people in their modern blindness, commit those evils, while believing themselves righteous in God’s sight. They go beyond or fall short of the authority of the New Testament just like the Israelites did respecting God’s instructions concerning the manna, but they are too blind to recognize their own faults and rebellion against God.

The foolish actions and lack of understanding on the part of the people recorded in the Bible, including those in the Old Testament, were written down for our learning. The question for each one of us to consider is, “have I learned the lessons that are taught through the actions of those people?” Some, if they were honest with themselves would realize that in condemning those of old for their disobedience and ignorance, they are condemning themselves for they have the same rebellious attitude toward God.

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Author: bible

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