“The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 293.
“The murmurings of ancient Israel and their rebellious discontent, as well as the mighty miracles wrought in their favor and the punishment of their idolatry and ingratitude, are recorded for our benefit. The example of ancient Israel is given as a warning to the people of God, that they may avoid unbelief and escape His wrath. If the iniquities of the Hebrews had been omitted from the Sacred Record, and only their virtues recounted, their history would fail to teach us the lesson that it does.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 11.
As we begin the first part of a two-part series on the “Wilderness Wanderings,” the main focus will be on: the birth of Moses and his preparation to lead the exodus movement; the plagues of Egypt; the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage; the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai; and the receiving of the law. We will come across examples both of unbelief and its devastating consequence and faithfulness and its blessed rewards. We will see the terrible results of rejecting God’s warnings as well as the blessings upon those who choose to believe God’s Word and act upon it.
Many of the Israelites carried the influence of Egypt with them. Though they physically left Egypt, they brought many of the customs and thought-patterns of Egypt with them. We, too, have been called out of spiritual Egypt, the world. We, too, may have covenanted to follow God, but still act and think like the world. As we study these lessons, may we have willing hearts to follow God fully.
“The task of Moses would have been much less difficult had not many of the Israelites become so corrupted that they were unwilling to leave Egypt.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 260. However, “during all the years of servitude in Egypt there had been among the Israelites some who adhered to the worship of Jehovah.”—Ibid., p. 259. The parents of Moses were among these faithful few. His mother, a God-fearing woman, knew how to bring up her son. “The whole future life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother.”—Ibid., p. 244.
May God help us to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites. May we also learn from their successes and be among the faithful few today who follow God at any cost.
The General Conference Sabbath School Department