As Israel moved away from their “baptism” through the Red Sea, they moved through hostile territory – the Wilderness of Shur. This country provided very little for their physical sustenance. God’s presence was remarkably evident as the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night was with them. The people knew that God was with them.
In the Wilderness of Shur they found no water. When they finally came to some water it was undrinkable due to its bitterness. But the water was made sweet and drinkable by the hand of God — an obvious miracle. By this whole process God said He tested or proved them. A process He repeated many times. (see Deuteronomy chapter 8).
God’s testing was to lead to a firm commitment on Israel’s part to have the Eternal’s law in their minds and to obey His law. “… that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not” (Exodus 16:4). It is quite clear that as Israel journeyed, God worked with them to refine them to be His people (Proverbs 17:3).
The Apostle Paul did not equivocate when applying the example of Israel in the wilderness to the Church. It was written for our admonition (1. Corinthians 10:11).
As we move forward on our journey, leaving the Days of Unleavened Bread behind us for another year, let’s be sure to draw heavily from Israel’s example. Let their many negative responses to God be turned into positive instruction for us. The living Head of the Church is the same One who was a pillar of cloud and fire in leading Israel. Christ would want us to remember what He did as He led Israel. “You called in time of trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the water of Meribah. Selah” (Psalm 81:7). As God works with us to conform us into His image, He tests and tries the hearts of His people.
Our journey is ahead of us. This journey is the path God has set before us. That path winds its way through a “leavened” world. A world that will try and test our hearts. It is difficult to conceive that the world will return to a calm, peaceful environment. Whatever the outcome of this present Coronavirus crisis, we will inevitably recognize continuing end-time characteristics. Our faith is going to be tested by a world that cannot sustain our spiritual lives. Only God can sustain us.
As the Apostle Peter noted, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
The genuineness of our faith will sustain us as we walk the journey toward the “revelation of Jesus Christ”. It is a mighty road that God has set before us. But we can be certain that He will walk with us.