“We have sinned life our fathers,
We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders…” -Ps. 106.6-7a
The children of Israel, having been delivered from bondage in Egypt, found themselves smack in the middle of the remarkable experience of God’s wonderful acts. Reading the Exodus account, one is struck with the radical supernaturalness of every event, and it is so miraculous that critical scholars- in their armchair intellectualism- question its historical validity. But to the one who has experienced deliverance from the grips of spiritual darkness, these massive acts of God become entirely believable and even tangible.
Still, with such an awesome deliverance, the vast majority of the Israelites were saved from Egypt’s slavic bondage, but never made it into the land that God had promised. The Psalm goes on to say that “they quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel. But craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them.” It has also been translated, “He gave them their request, but sent a leanness into their soul.” (vv. 13-15)
Only a few of them made it into the promised land, and the hardness of their hearts was exposed and written into the annals of history. “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.” (1 Cor. 10.5)
How tragic that a people so powerfully delivered by the strong hand of the Lord would not come into that for which He saved them! This is the result of their hardness of heart, but I believe another aspect needs to be considered here as well. See verse 7:
“Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders…”
They did not understand His wonders. They did not set apart the name of the Lord as holy. They were not genuinely thankful for His mercy, but treated their deliverance as if it revolved primarily around their benefit. They failed to realize that it was all about the glory of God.
Are we much different than them? Are our souls cursed with leanness, rather than a fulness of joy, a brimming love, and a brightly burning holiness? Have we failed to understand His wonders? May we be rooted and grounded in the glory of God.