Lessons from Experience of Israel


1169. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ.

1170. Satan's snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people.

1171. Their history should be a solemn warning to us. We need never expect that when the Lord has light for his people, Satan will stand calmly by and make no effort to prevent them from receiving it. Let us beware that we do not refuse the light God sends, because it does not come in a way to please us.... If there are any who do not see and accept the light themselves, let them not stand in the way of others.

1172. "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live; that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."  This song was not historical but prophetic. While it recounted the wonderful dealings of God with his people in the past, it also foreshadowed the great events of the future, the final victory of the faithful when Christ shall come the second time in power and glory.

1173. The apostle Paul plainly states that the experience of the Israelites in their travels has been recorded for the benefit of those living in this age of the world, those upon whom the ends of the world are come. We do not consider that our dangers are any less than those of the Hebrews, but greater.

1174. God in mercy called them out from the Egyptians, that they might worship him without hindrance or restraint. He wrought for them in the way by miracles, he proved and tried them by bringing them into strait places. After the wonderful dealings of God with them, and their deliverance so many times, they murmured when tried or proved by him. Their language was, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt." They lusted for the leeks and onions there.... Said the angel, "Ye have done worse than they."

1175. How frequently ancient Israel rebelled, and how often they were visited with judgments, and thousands slain, because they would not heed the commands of God who had chosen them! The Israel of God in these last days are in constant danger of mingling with the world, and losing all signs of being the chosen people of God.... Shall we provoke him as did ancient Israel? Shall we bring his wrath upon us by departing from him, and mingling with the world and following the abominations of the nations around us?... The same injunctions that rested upon ancient Israel rest upon God's people now, to be separate from the world. The great Head of the church has not changed. The experience of Christians in these days is much like the travels of ancient Israel. Please read 1 Corinthians 10, especially from the 6th to the 15th verse: "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.... Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."

1176. The Lord intends to bring his people back to live upon simple fruits, vegetables, and grains. He led the children of Israel into the wilderness, where they could not get a flesh diet; and he gave them the bread of heaven. "Man did eat angels' food." But they craved the flesh pots of Egypt, and mourned and cried for flesh, notwithstanding the promise of the Lord that if they would submit to his will, he would carry them into the land of Canaan, and establish them there, a pure holy, happy people, and there should not be a feeble one in all their tribes; for he would take away all sickness from among them. But although they had a plain "Thus saith the Lord," they mourned and wept, and murmured and complained, until the Lord was wroth with them. Because they were so determined to have the flesh of dead animals, he gave them the very diet that he had withheld from them. The Lord would have given them flesh from the first had it been essential to their health; but he had created and redeemed them, and led them the long journey in the wilderness, to educate, discipline and train them in correct habits. The Lord understood what influence flesh eating has upon the human system. He would have a people that would, in their physical appearance, bear the divine credentials, notwithstanding their long journey.

1177. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord.

1178. Because of Israel's disobedience and departure from God, they were allowed to be brought into close places, and to suffer adversity; their enemies were permitted to make war with them, to humble them and lead them to seek God in their trouble and distress.

1179. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." The experience of Israel, referred to in the above words by the apostle, and as recorded in the 105th and 106th psalms, contains lessons of warning that the people of God in these last days especially need to study. I urge that these chapters be read at least once every week.

1180. With the history of the children of Israel before us, let us take heed, and not be found committing the same sins, following in the same way of unbelief and rebellion.

 

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