No man left behind
This wandering group of Israelites, time and again, has proven unfaithful. They grumble. They disobey. They grumble some more. They’ve risen up against God’s appointed leaders. They continuously choose the wrong path, but God does not remove the correct path from them.
But I’m getting ahead. First, the Hebrews continue to wander the in the wilderness. Along the way they head toward the “road to Atharim” and encounter a King of Canaan who is living in the Negev.
As the people have been traveling through the Negev we continue to think of it as a desert, a wilderness, an area largely uninhabited where they occasionally find themselves missing access to drinking water. But at the very southern tip of the Negev is an area including modern day Eilat. Eilat is a resort city with a population of 20,000 people. It is dry, arid land along side a beautiful calm sea. While it rains less than 6 days of the year, there historically have been plentiful fresh water springs and the area was on a major trade route called the King’s Highway.
The Jews are not looking for a fight. They have no history of battle since leaving Egypt. But Arad makes a pre-emptive strike. It is apparent he seeks more to demoralize the Hebrews rather than expend the resources to defeat them, sending a message repeated by bullies everywhere: I am bigger than you are and I can punch you and take what I want from you at any time and you are weak and powerless to do anything about it.
But the Israelites did something that would surprise everyone. When their loved ones were captured, they didn’t focus on themselves, they focused on those they had lost and turned to God for help. God did not block them – He welcomed them onto the correct path. They promised to consecrate the people, the cities and the land to Him, and He gave them victory.
The victory wasn’t for the Israelites, it was for God. The Israelites did not occupy this area at this time, they continued to move on. They honored their brothers and sisters by honoring God and God reunited them.
Which of your brothers and sisters have been captured by the enemy? Which of your neighbors? Are you calling on God for victory to win them over from the enemy or have you given up on them?
It is a code of honor in many military commands that no soldier is left behind. Every effort is made to bring them back to reunite with their family.
God is our creator and all of us are His family. Who are you “leaving behind”? It is not by your strength they will be won, but by God’s strength. It is not your history of deeds (either good or evil), but your choice right now that makes a difference to God. Confess, Repent and turn yourself and them over to God’s saving power.
Also – Wouldn’t Hormah be a killer name for a Christian Rock Band?
Grumble. Turn to despair and fear and their victim mentality
1. He listened, 2. He gave the Canaanites over to them (they completely destroyed both them and their towns – Hormah = Destruction (great name for a rock band!)
concerns over major purchases and health issues, business issues, competition, growth, right partners