I wonder what God was thinking as He watched the Israelites move swiftly out of the land of Egypt with all of its riches and wealth. The people had prayed for freedom, and now they had been delivered. There must have been a sense of satisfaction in God’s heart to see the joy and relief on their faces. I wonder if He had high hopes that finally, they would see His glory and become faithful to Him.
He wanted to ensure their faith in Him. He desired to show them that He had their backs, and that He was with them, so He literally sent down a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night to lead and guide their every step. “Surely now, they’ll know I’m with them, and they’ll follow me!” He must have thought.
Then, suddenly, they happened upon the red sea, and oh how their tunes change. Groans. Complaints. Disbelief, Doubt. “You led us out of Egypt only to die here?” “Where are you God?” “We would have rather died in Egypt!”
The Egyptians could be seen hurrying in their direction with murder and intent to bring them back to Egypt in their hearts. The Israelites had lost all faith and trust in God.
God must have looked on them in confusion. “Remember the pillars of cloud and fire? I’m with you! I promise! I showed you!”
But they had forgotten.
God must have wondered, “Why wasn’t it enough?”
So, He thought, okay, I’ll deliver them. I’ll perform a great miracle they won’t surely forget! God uses Moses to literally split the ocean in two, for the glories of God to be revealed through their eyes. God smiled upon them, as they walked through this supernatural wonder. He watched them gasp as they passed dolphins and whales, and their feet stepped across the bottom of the sea, a place no human foot has ever stepped across before.
“Surely, now, they won’t forget. Maybe this will be enough.” God thought.
Then came the thirst. Safely across the sea, after seeing the destruction of the Egyptians before their eyes, the Israelites find themselves thirsty. Complaining. Groaning. Forgetting.
“Were the pillars of cloud and fire not enough? You’ve already forgotten the red sea?” But that didn’t deter Him. “Okay,” God thought, “I’ll serve you water from a rock.”
So, they drank freely.
Then the hungers came. “God, you brought us out here only to starve to death?? We would have rather died by the taskmaster’s whip in Egypt than to starve out here in this desert.”
God thought again, “You mean, everything I’ve done you’ve already forgotten? The pillars, the fire, the red sea, the water from the rock? Still, it’s not enough for you to love me? It’s not enough for you to believe me or trust me?”
So God graciously rains bread down from heaven for FORTY YEARS! The Bible describes it as appearing as a brief frost, that by the end of the day would melt. “Surely, now, they’ll know that I love them, maybe now they’ll realize I’m with them. I’ve shown them so many times! Maybe it will finally be enough!”
How I wish this were the case.
As they approached the base of Mt. Sinai, God had another idea in mind. Exodus 19:10-11: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”
God is going to come down the mountain in SIGHT of all the people?
I don’t remember being taught that!
God figured, “if the liberation from Egypt wasn’t enough, and neither were the pillars of cloud or fire, or the parting of the red sea, or the water from a rock, or the mana from heaven, I’ll finally put this doubt to rest. I will come down myself, be in their presence, and let them SEE that I am real.”
So what happens?
Verse 16: “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain . . . and when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him by voice!”
Oh to be there. To hear the voice of God. To be amongst the people of Israel who stood at the base of the mountain, knowing full well, and understanding that God was with them! This should curve any doubts, right? This should allay any fears and complaints? I mean, God literally revealed Himself to them, right?
As God took Moses back up the mountain with Him, to give Him precious laws to live by that would ensure the safety and joy of the people He delivered, Moses returned to find the same people who had just witnessed God himself, busying themselves worshiping a golden calf.
Oh, the heartbreak of God.
But did it deter God? No, so He decided to move down and to live with them. He instructed them to build a Sanctuary “that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8.
But was it enough? What if God moved in? Maybe then, maybe then His love would be enough. Maybe His presence would be enough. Maybe then, the people would love and trust Him.
Fast forward- you might be familiar with the story. The Israelites are not faithful. They resist and complain and pull away and fight and sin and fall again and again, and still it’s not enough. God must have wondered, “Oh when will what I do for them ever be enough?”
Then, it became decided and revealed, the final plan, the last chance humanity had.
God says, “I’ll go down there in human form. I will love them. I will teach them. I will lead them. I will die for them. Maybe then, it will be enough.”
So we stand here today with this question posed before us, “is it enough?” Is Christ’s death enough for you? Have you seen enough now to know God is real and for you and with you? Or will we be like the Israelites and forget again and again. Perhaps today we should start writing a physical list of things that God has done for us in our lives. Perhaps we should nail it to our walls, carry it with us in our pockets, as we humans sure do forget a lot! I imagine our pockets aren’t large enough to fill all the times God has stepped in to show us He is enough.
The cool thing about God is He hasn’t stopped trying to remind us.
Our precious Lord never will.
Please, make Him enough.
Devin Anavitarte is one of the founders of Enspire Productions. He is currently the chaplain at Burton Adventist Academy.