The text was based on Exodus 15, the story of the Israelites who were rescued out of Egypt and from under the bondage of Pharaoh. the Israelites for whom God parted the Red Sea and then closed it over the Egyptians in the their pursuit. Can you imagine the miraculous rescue? Can you imagine being one of those dusty-sandaled, well-saddled people fleeing for their lives only to have God show up in such an inconceivable way. Surely, if it that had been us, we'd never forget all God had done for us. Surely.
As a little girl, I remember watching that scene in the TV movie The Ten Commandments. The networks started airing it yearly in the middle of my childhood and I have many memories sitting enthralled before it with my bowl of popcorn and my siblings. I not only watched it on TV countless times, but have probably read it in the Bible at least 100 times. Even this past month, Bella has been studying it in school and we’ve been discussing with her. I'm fascinated with the story.
The scene itself is dramatic and moving, but the storyline of the Israelite people is what impacts me most these days in my adulthood. There they are — backed into a corner with no place to turn and God opens the Red Sea for them. They enter, cross, and are safe on the other side when God closes the water wall and they watch their enemies swiftly disappear into its depths.
They are rescued miraculously … and they rejoice abundantly.
They praise God, singing, "Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" Exodus 15:11
But, then … they forget.
Within just 3 days of the sea opening for their redemption they begin again to grumble against God. And this repeats many times in their story.
It’s this rescue, redemption, rejoicing … and then quickly forgetting pattern in the wilderness which I identify with most. As Jeff said from the pulpit: “They forget … and the Lord reminds … and they rejoice … and they forget … and the Lord reminds … and they rejoice … and they forget." It’s the rhythm of the human heart.” Unfortunately, it’s the rhythm of THIS human’s heart.
I want to remember the gospel and God’s glory, but, so often I find myself forgetting. And it’s the forgetting which leads to the grumbling. It’s the forgetting of His glory and our need to express gratitude which, just as it did with the Israelites, brings with it a great complaining spirit. Jeff went on to preach, “God keeps providing to a people who keep forgetting.”
Yes, indeed, the rhythm of the human heart.
We are a forgetful people. We remember the things we shouldn't and forget the things we should.
For those of you who like outlines, Jeff had two main points to his message ---
- The redeemed of the Lord rejoice when they remember the gospel. Saying, "gospel remembrance is a muscle we must exercise every single day.”
- The redeemed of the Lord grumble as they question the goodness of God.
I invite you to listen. My words don’t begin to do justice to his message. It’s an important one as we continue to muck our way through 2020. It’s an encouraging one as we enter into this week of Thanksgiving. Israelites or Americans let us not forget the gospel and God’s goodness, and let’s not forget our response of gratitude.