Miracles and memory - Hope 103.2

Miracles and memory

By David ReayThursday 24 Nov 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Numbers 14:1-4

1 Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” (NLT)

This particular episode is not all that remarkable if taken in isolation. People who claim to follow God often get fed up with him and complain about him and his delegated leaders. We give up on faith when confronted with threatening circumstances—in this case, the presence of powerful enemies in the promised land.

What makes this more remarkable is the fact that these same Israelites had seen God at work in miraculous ways. The parting of the Sea of Reeds, the provision of manna in the wilderness, these were mighty works of God which we might think would cause the people to believe in him in all circumstances.

They did not. Their memories of the miracles were swamped by the immediate threat. And so it is that we, who have seen God powerfully at work in our own histories, can relegate that to the sidelines and begin to doubt him when trouble arises. We either forget, or our memories grow dim.

Moses shows us that miracles won’t guarantee ongoing faith in God. Jesus shows us that doing miracles won’t compel belief in those hostile to God. We must never relegate miracles to the times of the Bible: God is still God. But never assume that a few more miracles will result in lots more believers.

David Reay