The Israelites and Us: God’s Plan


Gods plan was made before the foundation of the earth. To first choose a family and create a nation which in turn would birth His son Jesus, the Messiah, the savior of the world. From the Israelites came God’s plan for salvation, the way to Him for all people. (Isaiah 42:6-7)

We see His plan from the beginning in choosing a man and a family tree to bless into a great nation. (Psalm 135:4, Psalm 78:68, Psalm 78:70, Isaiah 51:2)

God’s plan involves us, His creation. In His love He chose us and wants to accomplish His plan to bless others and the world.

God is at work in everything. All circumstances and situations His hand is in. We see this throughout the Old Testament. (Romans 8:28)

God chose David, the youngest of several brothers, a shepherd, a boy. God sees the heart of every man and does not see like us by outward appearances. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Even though David later sinned greatly God used it to bring about the family line that Jesus would be born into. God can use any situation and turn evil into good. 

Many generations before David God chose Joseph from his eleven other brothers. Joseph’s brothers became jealous of him and planned to kill him but ended up selling him into slavery to an Egyptian. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers to an Egyptian official whose wife later tried to seduce him and when unable to do so accused him of attempted rape. Joseph spent many years in prison afterwards and was forgotten, but not by God. He interpreted dreams of Pharaoh’s staff that were in prison with him, but when one was released he forgot Joseph and never told Pharaoh about him as he had promised. So Joseph stayed in prison longer until Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it. Then Pharaoh’s official remembered Joseph and that he could interpret dreams. Joseph was brought out of prison and after interpreting Pharaoh’s dream from God, he was given high authority in Egypt. Joseph prepared Egypt for the coming devastating drought and through that saved many lives. Those living in Egypt and the surrounding lands and nations, including his own family who eventually moved and settled in Egypt. God’s hand was in it all and worked it for good. Joseph could have given up and most likely doubted at times or resigned himself to prison, but through it all God was working His plan. God used what they meant for evil and turned it into good. Don’t give up or lose faith when things are very tough and long. God is there and working for your good. Ask Him to show you and He will. (Genesis 37:25-36, Genesis 45:5-8, Genesis 50:20-21, Galatians 6:9-10)

Another example is the story of Sampson. He married a Philistine woman. A woman from a pagan nation. God told the Israelites not to intermarry with the pagan nations. God was at work though to bring defeat to the Philistines. He used Samson in his marriage to the Philistine woman to destroy and defeat the Philistines. Gods ways are mysterious. He works in many ways we don’t realize and in many things we would not recognize Him in. We should just trust Him in all things.Ask Him for deeper trust in whatever situation we are dealing with everyday. (Judges 14:1-4)

The nation of Israel was to bless the rest of the world. Showing the way to God to the world. Just like God chose us in Christ to be His children and to bless the world by showing the way and leading others to Him. God chose us from the beginning. He knew us before we even existed, every detail about us. He created us and longs to lead us into the abundant life He wants to give us through his son. He has good plans for us to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-18, Ephesians 1:4)

Even though God knew the Israelites would disobey, complain, and distrust Him, He still chose them out of all the other nations on earth. He chose us even though He knows the many times we will be trying to Him and do the same as they did. (Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:15-16, Titus 3:3-7, Ephesians 1:4)

If instead we listen and trust Him we will see, even in the hard times, that He knows what is best for us. The Israelites could have seen that too if they trusted Him, they wouldn’t have encountered the problems that they did. They didn’t trust Him as they journeyed to the promised land. That led to many problems in the wilderness and wondering for 40 years. They didn’t trust Him to help them conquer the land by not destroying all the nations there. That led them into sin because they intermingled with the other nations. (Numbers 33:55, Joshua 13:13, Joshua 15:63, Joshua 16:10, Joshua 17:12-16, Joshua 23:12-13, Judges 1:19, Judges 1:21, Judges 1:27-35, Psalm 78:22)

God tested Israel in a couple of ways. One way was when He led them through through the wilderness, providing for their needs all along the way while also letting them struggle a little to test their faith. He also tested them when they entered the promised land by not allowing all the nations to be conquered quickly, instead spreading it out over many years and still left several to conquer. God wanted to see if the Israelites would continue in His ways following Him. Instead they intermingled with the other nations and began to worship their Gods. God sometimes doesn’t remove obstacles or solve our problems quickly or change our circumstances in order to see if we will trust Him. He wants to build our trust and faith in Him. It is all because of His love for us and our own good even when we can’t see it at the time. (Deuteronomy 8:15-16, Judges 2:22-23, 2 Chronicles 32:31)

Through the laws God set boundaries for them, but they ignored them. Just like a parent sets boundaries for their children out of love for them, that is what God did for them. God does the same for us in the New Testament. Instructing us in the way we should live through his son Jesus Christ. It is all out of love for us, His children. Our actions, our thoughts our ways are to be imitating Christ. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

The laws given in the old testament, were written with fairness and mercy.  They show how to love your neighbor and care for others. How to live harmoniously and peacefully with our neighbors. The laws were fair, but also just. They showed how to live justly with mercy and how a nation of God‘s people can work together. The laws differentiated the Israelites from all the nations around them. Just like we are to be different than the world around us. People should see a difference in us. They should see Christ in us. Our minds should be being transformed and renewed in Christ. We should not let the world poison our minds and thoughts with unclean, unholy things. (James 1:27)

The laws showed how a nation, the church, families and even our lives should be guided. We need to be fair and honest in our dealings always seeking God‘s guidance in our decisions. Never make a rash or quick decision in the moment. Love and forgive others as Christ loves and forgives us. Use your blessings to help and care for the needy. (Deuteronomy 10:19, Deuteronomy 5:14, Deuteronomy 24:19-21)

Jesus said all the law can be summed up in two commands:

Love the Lord and your neighbor. Through obeying these we fulfill how God wants us to live and reflect God to those around us. (Matthew 22:36-40)

The Israelites were commanded to love your neighbor, as yourself, just as Jesus commanded. This is how God wants His children to live, putting others before ourselves. Loving others as He loves them, and seeing the world, and those around us as He sees them. (Deuteronomy 22:1-4, Mark 12:31, Romans 13:8-10)

The Israelites worked together as a community to donate all the materials and build the tabernacle and later the temple in the promised land. When they returned from exile they worked together to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls. This shows how the body of Christ should be united. The Israelites were the people of God – like the church today. We should work together as a family as one people united following Christ. Showing the world Christ and walking humbly with our God.  (Psalm 133, Romans 12:16)

The tribe of Levi was chosen by God to be His ministers and priests. They were not given land. God commanded the Israelites to provide for those in ministry over them. The Levites were God’s  chosen ministers over them. They shared their land and towns. The Levites food came from the offerings given to God in the tabernacle. In the same way we are called to provide for our ministers. Those in the ministry locally and around the world. They are our shepherds and God has ordained them so we should provide for their needs. Their job is not easy and too often it is thankless. (Deuteronomy 18:1-2, Ezekiel 44:28-30, Galatians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 9:7-14)

In the desert Moses interceded for the people when they turned away and God became angry with them. God relented from his anger when Moses interceded. Aaron interceded for Miriam when God punished her for joining in complaining with him against Moses. This shows us the power of prayer. We can intercede for people. Interceding in our prayers is very powerful. God hears and is moved. Our prayers have impact. We can change the outcome of things. We are children of God and He listens and acts on our requests according to His will. We can make change in the Heavenly Realms, the happenings in heaven and earth. We can participate in the happenings of heaven and Gods plan on earth. That is why Jesus taught “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, 1 Timothy 2:1-3)

He gave laws to show how broken we are and how we cannot measure up to God standards, we will always fall short. It shows how much we truly need Him and that it’s only through Christ. He is the way the truth and the life. Through a sincere, broken, repent and open heart that we can be reconciled to Him, believing in His one and only son. God sent His son as the spotless sinless lamb to take our sin and blame on Himself, to die and rise again victorious. Offering life to all who believe. (John 14:6, Titus 3:4-7)

God wanted a sincere broken heart from the Israelites, not the rituals, traditions or obeying all the laws. God wanted the Israelites motives to be for Him, which in turn would motivate them to do the rituals and obey the laws in honor of God. God wants the same motive from us. Through a broken repentant heart that leads to obey God out of gratefulness and to honor Him. Which in turn will motivate us to obey His word. God sees into our hearts, or motives, not the actions like the world does. (Isaiah 1:11-13, Isaiah 58:1-2, Isaiah 58:3-4, Isaiah 58:5-6)

Moses as leader of the Israelites went through times of stress and frustration dealing with the people and their complaining and aggression. He voiced his frustration and concerns to God and God patiently listened and provided help. One way God helped was giving the same spirit he had given Moses to some of the Israelite elders. In the Old Testament God’s spirit was given to certain people, but now after Christ it is freely given to anyone who believes. We need to trust in the power of God, through His Holy Spirit He has given to us in all things. We can totally rely on His spirit within us. Jesus said in the last days which is after Jesus came, that He would pour out His Spirit all people, those who believe all over the world.(Numbers 11:28-30, Isaiah 11:2, Joel 2:28-32, Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 5:25)

Throughout their journey we see their struggle with God and trusting His plan for them. We can see ourselves in their story. We see our journey. They would trust and obey one moment and in the next they turned away and went their own way. Just like we do at times. They had a hard time remembering what God had done for them in the past and throughout their journey. All the miracles He had performed and the ways He took care of them. We forget how God has taken care of us too.

When the Israelites sent out scouts to survey the promise land, the scouts became afraid. They came back and discouraged the community of Israel. They did not trust God‘s provision and power, His plan for them to inherit the land. They choose not to trust him, therefore bringing the whole community of Israel down into their faithlessness. Only two of the scouts remembered what God had done and trusted in His plan. God was angry with them for their lack of faith. So the punishment was to wander in the desert for 40 years until that generation had all passed away. Then their children inherited the land. The only ones that survived the whole time were the two scouts that had believed. The other eight scouts died shortly after giving their report and discouraging Israel. We can so often forget all God has done for us. When a difficult situation arises we doubt God and his goodness. We question Him and His plan for us and therefore we don’t trust and obey. We worry about the circumstance. Worry only adds to the problem and there are consequences to our untrusting. Not only for us, but also in the watching waiting world.  As we pull away from him it affects our walk with Christ, our faith decreases. It also affects those around us, their faith and unbelievers watching. (Numbers 13:1-3, Numbers 13:32, Numbers 14:1-4, Numbers 14:5-9, Numbers 14:23-25, Numbers 14:30)

After the Israelites realized their sin and heard their punishment and the direction from God to go back out to the wilderness, they dissobeyed again. The next day they went ahead in the direction of the promised land. God had told them to go out into the wilderness but they disobeyed and tried to enter the promised land on their own. We can do the same thing. Anything done without God will not succeed. When God gives us direction we need to obey not try to go our own way. Instead of fully realizing that they went on trying to do it themselves. They focused on themselves. They did not humble themselves before God. They were stubborn moving ahead on their own. We can be the same way. When God points us in a direction, and we hesitate, it can be too late to turn around try again. The opportunity door God opened may be closed by then. And if we go in our own effort, we will fail. (Numbers 14:40-42, Numbers 14:44-45)

After Paul, in the book of Romans, laid out Gods plan from the beginning, starting with Adam through the history of the Israelites and to the time of Christ and ending with Gods plan of salvation. Paul could only praise God for how He planned and worked in it all out. (Romans 11:23-36)


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