1 Corinthians 10:1-2(NKJV)
1Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
In our studies of the Red Sea period in Israel’s history, we have been looking at many applications for the truths of that period to our lives today. As we continue to study this period, I want to look at a parallel to our own Christian experience.
As we have discussed in this space Moses and Christ are linked. Jesus was sent to the earth as a “prophet like Moses.” In some ways, Moses is a type of Christ. Likewise the experiences of the children of Israel can be compared to our experience as believers.
Moses led Israel out of bondage in Egypt. The scripture above speaks of us being “baptized in the sea.” It was Moses job to acquire Israel’s freedom. In the same way, Jesus purchases our freedom from the bondage of sin. We went through the waters of baptism just as Israel went through the sea.
The people really did nothing to purchase their freedom from Egypt. It was Moses that went to Pharaoh. It was Moses that brought forth the plagues. It was Moses who, at the Red Sea, held up the rod and parted the waters. All the people had to do was receive what Moses had done by walking through parted waters.
We did nothing to obtain our salvation from sin. Jesus bore our sins. Jesus went to the cross. Jesus paid the full penalty for every human being. All we have to do is receive what Jesus did as payment for our sin personally. We must accept Him as our savior and as our Lord. We must give him control, but that is much easier than paying the price of death for our sin.
The next thing Moses did for Israel was lead them through the Wilderness. What does this represent to us? We go through what we call “wilderness” experiences in life. They are the difficult times we must face. They are the dry times when we must pray in order to make it through to the other side. Although these times do sometimes accomplish what God did with Israel in their wilderness, that is not really what the wilderness represents to us.
The wilderness was the time where Israel went from a mass of slaves to a nation. It is where they learned to work together. It is where their government began to develop. It is where they learned to fight as an army. Most important it was where they learned to trust God.
When we are born again we are called “babes in Christ.” We know nothing of the ways of God. Our lives have been trained by the world and the flesh. Both of which are largely influenced by the devil. We have been changed inwardly, but Paul tells us we need to be “transformed”, or completely changed, by the renewing of our minds. He tells us we must learn to “put off” the old man and “put on” Christ. In other words we must grow up in God.
The difficult times we call “wilderness” certainly play a role in that. However I believe that all of our development can be likened to the wilderness Israel went through. Remember, in the wilderness God provided manna. In the wilderness they got water from a rock. In the wilderness their shoes and cloths didn’t wear out. It really wasn’t that bad a time. God was molding them into what they needed to be in order to fulfill their purpose.
In our walk we must also grow into our Christianity. We start as babes in Christ and we must learn the Word of God, we must learn to think differently. We must become adults so that we can fulfill the destiny God has for us. God will take care of us while we grow just as he did Israel. Never the less he does expect us to become adults and not remain children in the things of God.
One of the things that Israel did in the wilderness was learn to follow the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day. They did not move unless the pillar moved. In the upper room on the day of Pentecost a pillar of fire appeared, broke apart and rested on each of them. They were filled with the Holy Ghost. This is part of the wilderness preparation in our lives just as it was in the life of Israel. They learned to follow the Holy Spirit. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and must also learn to follow him.
All of this is important. We are saved by the blood of Jesus. We come to maturity during a time of preparation. However that is not the end of the story. You see the wilderness was not the point of Israel’s deliverance. God had a purpose for them and that purpose was not to wander in a desert until they died. God’s purpose for delivering Israel was the promised land. They were supposed to go through the wilderness not stay in it.
Because of their unbelief they ended up in the wilderness 20 years longer than they had to be. In the end, the first generation that came out of Egypt never did enter into the land God delivered them to occupy. They never learned what the wilderness was designed to teach them. They simply died there.
As we begin this week, we need to understand that we have been saved for a purpose. Part of that purpose is eternal. Part of it is to be fulfilled right here on earth. You may be in wilderness preparation right now. Maybe you are in a particularly difficult part of it. Most of us are still learning in some areas but are walking as adults in others. Either way we need to let God work in us until we become what he needs us to be. Don’t let unbelief keep you from the life God has for you. (John 10:10)
More on this tomorrow.