The time delay scheduled by the prophecy was almost at the end. Forty years was almost completed.
The Promised Land lay due North.
The command to Break Camp spread from tent to tent.
Excitement filled the hearts and permeated the atmosphere.
Even today many use the term to indicate a long-held dream.
For the Israelites it meant Home, Rest, Salvation.
But the cloud moved southeast and Moses followed it.
Grumbling. Almost like the rumbling of an earthquake moved through the caravan. What started as a murmur became a torrent of protests.
They were disappointed. The disappointment was so severe that the people became rebellious. Mob mentality took over and they talked of killing Moses so they could take the short trail to Home.
Disappointment clouded their vision and their understanding so that they refused to see that God was leading them still and there was good reason for the path leading them other-than-North.
Disappointment is a powerful drug. If left to its consumption of reason, it will always lead to poor choice and disastrous action.
Due North would lead the Israelites into battle, warfare for which they had no experience or training.
God knew they were not ready for that. His way was to lead them on a longer, but safer path.
But, now, because of their choices and actions, God was unable to continue His protective shield that surrounded them. Outside that shield lay many dangers. Snakes were just one danger that had been kept away by God’s Presence.
As His presence had to be removed in response to their choices, the snakes entered the community. Fiery serpents. The venom felt like fire running though their veins. And death followed.
It’s easy for us to look back at this history and tell each other what ‘they’ should have done.
But how do we respond today when disappointment surrounds us we are not led they way we think we deserve?
Grumbling. Rebellion. Accusations against others. Even God gets some blame.
These are the symptoms.
“If you hadn’t brought us this way we wouldn’t have run into the snakes.”
People died. Even the children were dying.
Until, at the end of their despair, they confessed their sin against God. And asked to be healed.
Through Moses, their leader, God provided the remedy, the antidote.
Look at the symbol of your sin, there on that pole. Look in faith. Look and Live.
This record about the Israelites is preserved for us so that we may avoid their mistakes. Yet, the record is of little value if we don’t read, study, and understand the applications.
It’s great when we can recognize the beginnings of the disappointment problem in ourselves.
But, If we don’t recognize the onset of the disease, we need to have a true friend, a trusted ally, that will counsel and encourage us until the fever passes.
Faith is the only antidote for disappointment.
So, how do we find the faith to counteract the malady?
Promises. Look and live.
Overwhelm the symptoms with God’s Promises.
Overwhelm the symptoms with Songs.
Use the words and music of hymns and choruses to bolster your faith. To remind you of Who is your Leader. As the song says, “He’s never failed us yet! He never will!”
Now, let’s get back to Old Testament history.
With a different thought process, look at the times Israel experienced disappointment.
Look at the beginning – What led to the disappointment?
What was God trying to accomplish with them?
What were they experiencing?
What did they misinterpret?
What choices and actions followed?
It is easier to do this exercise by looking at someone else first.
If you are of an analytical mindset and want to dig into the Why of your experience, Go through those four questions we asked about Israel…
What led to your disappointment?
What is God trying to accomplish in you?
What are you experiencing?
Are you misinterpreting God’s leading?
What actions and choices are you making?
Regardless of the insights you discover with the answers to the five questions above...
Overwhelm the disappointment with Promises.
Here’s one: In Heaven, when I look at the ways that God led in my life on this earth - the detours, the mountains, the rivers, the deserts – I will recognize the Love and Compassion that prompted the path that He directed, and will be content that His way was indeed the best way.
For I know the thoughts that He has for me, thoughts of peace and prosperity.
I Am with you always, even when it seems your world is coming to an end.
“Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.”
When disappointment tries to take you down, - read, recite, sing Promises of God until the feeling passes. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the feeling will diminish and disappear in the light of His Glory and Grace.
Look and live. We don’t need a serpent on a pole to remind us of God’s care.
Study the flowers. Even the tiny blooms remind us, If God takes such care of these works of art that last for such a short time, how much more care does He give to your life.
God’s Word is abundant with promises, more than enough for a new promise every day of the year.
Read your Bible. Get a Book Of Promises at the bookstore.
Look and live.
Comment to share your thoughts and response. I’d like to hear how you deal with disappointment.