The Israelites and Us: Man and Human Nature


When things went good for the Israelites they forgot God and began to think they could do things themselves. We do the same. When we become Christians we surrender everything to Him and follow closely. We know and realize all he has done for us in bringing us to salvation and we are on fire for Him. But as time goes on we can fall back into old ways and start to think we can handle things and don’t need God as much. That’s what is the Israelites did. When things go good it’s easy to think that way. When things are not good, that’s when we turn back to God. The Israelites did the same thing. We need to learn to continually give everything to God, not just part. Every day and every moment. Regardless of whether things are good or bad we should pray and surrender. (Psalm 105:4, Amos 5:4)

It was not even 40 days since Moses had gone up the mountain to meet with God and the Israelites doubted and turned to create their own God. They  forgot all God had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt through miracles and all He did to provide for them in the wilderness. Things became unclear and uncertain and they turned away and try to find their own way instead of trusting that God was still in control. We do the same when things seem to go awry and out of our control we begin to doubt question God. Sometimes we go our way trying to find answers by ourselves and  look to other things instead of trusting God‘s control and His goodness. We turn so quickly.

The Israelites complained easily just like we can do. Several times they complained to Moses about things like not Finding water, their circumstances, their time in the wilderness, and not having meat to eat because they were tired of the mana God provided. God became angry with them and sent disasters. Then the people would cry out to Moses and he would pray and God would stop the disaster. We do the same. We so easily complain when things go wrong and forget all God has done for us throughout our life because we become focused on the current circumstances. We lose our focus on Him. Instead of looking up at Him we look down at all circumstances. We should count our blessings and be grateful for all He has done and have faith trusting Him for the current situation. (Psalm 37:5, Matthew 6:25-34)

In his love, God raised up, judge after judge and prophet after prophet throughout the Old Testament. He used them to correct and guide the Israelites. He was lovingly, parenting them, but they wanted nothing to do with the messages of the judges and prophets to correct their ways. They did not like being told they need a correction. They kept on going their own way. God knew where that leads. Sin is destructive. It hurts us and those around us. Human nature wants to go our own way. We don’t like correction, our pride won’t let us see the truth. But we need to be, as Jesus said, like a child. (Jeremiah 8:4-5, Matthew 18:4, Luke 18:17)

We learn how stubborn we can be in wanting to go our own way not God’s way. To us our way seems better. We don’t trust God. Instead we question and doubt Him. The Israelites did the same thing. God loves us so much. He wants only what is in our best interest. Just like a parent teaches a child. Even though the child wants to do what they want, parents know what is best for them. God is only trying to help us. He knows where our way leads. (Proverbs 14:12, Isaiah 1:5, Jeremiah 44:5)

We learn about pride vs humbleness. All the Israelites were given and blessed with was from God not themselves. The victories they had were from God. Not from their skills or talents. All their abilities were from God. The Israelites forgot that many times and became proud. God warned them and he warns us.  Everything we have and everything we are and everything we have been blessed with are from God. Our talents, skills and abilities are from God. Our salvation is from God. By Gods grace alone we are saved. Not because of anything we have done. Whether we have plenty or little we should recognize it is from God. In our many blessings we should not become proud and say we gained them ourselves. We should not forget God and start serving the things of this world. God alone gives us every good thing and He alone deserves our praise. It is because of His love that God gives. God loved us even when we were still far from Hom in rebellion, He died for us to make a way to Him. He loved us first. (Deuteronomy 8:13-14, Deuteronomy 9:4–6, Deuteronomy 11:16, Hosea 13:5-6, Luke 18:9-14, Philippians 4:12-14, Ephesians 1:3, 2 Chronicles 26:5, 2 Chronicles 26:16)

We learn our nature to make impulsive and rash decisions at times. Decisions made without God always lead to the wrong place and create chaos. God knows best and we need to trust Him. The Israelites sometimes made rash decisions without asking God and vows they could not keep or regretted. The Gibeonites tricked the Israelites into a treaty with them and bound it with an oath. The Gibeonites lived in the promised land and therefore they were one of the nation’s that the Israelites were to attack but they were deceived. Representatives of the Gibeonites pretended they were from a very far away place and the Israelites did not consult the Lord before making their decision and oath. Therefore they were bound by the treaty and oath and could not attack them, so when they found out they made the Gibeonites their slaves. (Proverbs 20:25, Leviticus 5:4-5)

We should always seek God‘s guidance in everything and be humble. Seek His wisdom and knowledge in every circumstance and decision. 

When Jehoshaphat, one of Israel’s kings, found out about an imminent attack by Israel’ enemies he immediately sought God’s help and sent messages to the rest of Israel to do the same. (2nd Chronicles 20:1, 2nd Chronicles 20:3-4)

King Hezekiah sought God when the king of Assyria threatened to invade Judah and spoke against the Lord in his taunting of the king of Judah and tried to dishearten the people. King Hezekiah prayed to God and sought His help. (Isaiah 37:1-2 Isaiah 37:14-20)

Ask God and look for his leading. Rely on Him not yourself or your efforts. Don’t rely on others either. It’s good to get other’s opinions or advice, but we should always test everything to what His word says and let God have the final say. Trust God and let Him be our rock who never changes. (Joshua 9:14, Jeremiah 10:21, Proverbs 13:10, Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:10)

We learn our nature to want what we can’t have. Having the law told us what was right and wrong. It’s our human nature to want to do what we are told we shouldn’t do. We see the Israelites do the same. Sin had power over them and us because of the law. Christ is the only answer to overcome the power of sin. (Romans 7:8-25) 

Their story also shows a great deal on leadership and how it should be handled. Israel’s leaders did not always seek God and turned away and led Israel into sin. It shows the great responsibility of leaders and how their actions impact their followers. Teachers and leaders will have greater accountability before God. If we are in those types of positions we need to take our responsibility seriously and watch what we do and say and seek wisdom from God in all we do. (James 3:1)

Moses and Aaron disobeyed Gods instructions when the Israelites complained about no water. They let their emotions get the best of them, their anger at the Israelites complaining and lack of trust in God. Even though the emotion seemed right it clouded their view and made them misrepresent God in front of the Israelites. Therefore they were not allowed to enter the promise land. Moses was allowed to see it from a distance from a mountaintop before he died, but neither could enter the land. We must watch and be careful especially if we are leaders in any way how we represent God before others. Our followers are watching. We must check our emotions even if they seem right and justified. We will be accountable before Him. We need to ask for His wisdom and understanding in all things especially before we act. (Deuteronomy 32:48, Ephesians 4:26)

David almost let his emotion of revenge make him sin greatly against God by taking justice in his own hands. When God says, revenge is His alone, not ours. David had helped Nabal’s shepherds. He was peaceful with them and nothing was ever stolen from them by David or his men. David sent messengers to Nabal explaining this and asking him to be kind to them and share any provisions they may have with them. Nabal became angry and refused to share anything with them. This angered David and he wanted revenge so he and his men set out to kill Nabal and his household. Meanwhile Nabal’s wife heard of what happened and that David and his men were coming for revenge. She acted quickly and wisely by gathering gifts for David and his men and going out to meet him before he reached Nabal’s home to stop David from sinning. She did this without telling her husband, Nabal, and when she met up with David, she assumed all responsibility for her husband’s actions. David was very thankful for her intervention in stopping him from taking revenge in his own hands instead of letting it in Gods hands. God dealt with Nabal in his timing. (1 Samuel 25:4-8, 1 Samuel 25:10-11, 1 Samuel 25:14-16, 1 Samuel 25:18-19, 1 Samuel 25:21-22, 1 Samuel 25:23-28, 1 Samuel 25:32-35, 1 Samuel 25:36-38)

David learned from this and in the future when faced with taking revenge he chose not to. Saul, Israel’s king was chasing after David to kill him and on two occasions David could have killed Saul but chose not to and left things in Gods hands. We should think before we act or speak especially when we are full of emotion. Just because we feel a certain way and it seems right doesn’t make it right. Always ask God first and pray for wisdom in our actions and words in every situation and circumstance. We can trust God to handle everything. (1 Samuel 24:2-4, 1 Samuel 24:7-8, 1 Samuel 26:5, 1 Samuel 26:7-11, James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26, 31-32)

Miriam and Aaron at one point questioned Moses leadership. They became jealous of him and prideful in their ministry abilities.  God was not pleased. They were part of the leadership team but Moses was head leader of the people. They took their eyes off of God and the ministry God had given them. Instead of focusing on him keeping relying on him they became prideful in what they thought they had done. They wanted more and became jealous of Moses. They wanted his position. They wanted his recognition. So God sent punishment to Miriam in the form of leprosy. She had to stay outside of the camp seven days before she was healed. Aaron was greatly distressed and pleaded with Moses to pray to God. Being leaders they had influence over the community of Israel. Any leader has influence over those who follow them. Therefore they have a great responsibility. God takes it seriously and so the punishment had to be serious.  The Israelites needed to see and know it was serious so they would not follow. (Numbers 12:1-2, Numbers 12:4-5, Numbers 12:7-15)

Saul, Israel’s first king, disobeyed Gods command through the prophet and last judge of Israel, Samuel. God commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites, but instead he only obeyed to a point, not fully. Saul insisted he did obey when Samuel confronted him. As a result God took the kingdom of Israel from Saul and gave it to David. Instead of being humble and seeking to fully obey what God had commanded of him Saul  become proud in thinking he obeyed and then he coveted the plunder. We should listen fully to what God tells us through His spirit and His word. It is because of His love for us, because He cares about us. He only wants what is best for us. We should humbly and prayerfully seek and obey Him. (1 Samuel 15:1-3, 1 Samuel 15:19-23, 1 Samuel 15:28-29, 1st Samuel 15:22, Ephesians 4:30-31, James 1:22-25)

The kings of Israel after David gradually slipped away from God and sinned doing evil in His sight. When Israel split in two regions most of the succession of kings afterwards did not follow and obey God. In doing so they led all Israel to sin and rebellion against God. One king in particular sinned and then the other kings followed his example. Leaders are examples to those who follow them. Leaders have a responsibility to God and their followers to lead rightly being a good example not a bad one. (1 Kings 16:19, 2 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 13:6, 2 Kings 13:11, Titus 1:7-9)

We learn our responsibility, based on what we have seen, what has been revealed to us. In the end we will be judged by what we did with what we know. Did we turn to God and accept Him or did we reject Him? (Deuteronomy 29:29, 1 Corinthians 11:31, Romans 1:20)

We have a choice everyday to follow God or our ways. To obey God or the flesh. To walk by Gods spirit or by our flesh, our sinful nature. Both resulting in different things. Good results or bad results. We have a choice everyday to follow God. To choose life or death. We must choose every day and every moment who we will follow, God or our flesh as the world. We will learn and grow spiritually in God if we choose Him. We will grow apart and wither spiritually if we don’t. (Deuteronomy 30:19, Deuteronomy 30:13-16, Galatians 5:8, Galatians 5:16, Isaiah 26:3,  Joshua 24:14-15, Romans 8:6-8)

We should continually commit ourselves to the Lord. Several times the Israelites committed themselves to God. They publicly proclaimed to wholeheartedly follow God. As we go through life we should do the same and recommit ourselves regularly to God. (Joshua 24:14-18)


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