Murmuring Israel

I am supposed to be finishing up my Corporations reading (but I cannot bring myself to do it on a Sunday).  But I thought to share a few ideas before reading our scriptures and going to bed.

Today was a first for me.  Initially I had been asked to stand in for a priesthood ordination and I was happy to do that.  Well, the other two people who had been asked to stand in forgot.  It felt bad for the man being ordained since this was something that was very important to him.  Last minute, I was offered the privilege of conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained him to the office of an Elder.  It was an honour and a privilege.  It was the first time for me to have ever ordained somebody to any office in any priesthood.  In typing up the priesthood lineage, I almost felt like I had gained a son.  From here on out, at least as an Elder, I will be a part of his lineage and that will bind us throughout eternity.  Somehow I felt like a part of me went out and into him.  I don’t know if he feels or recognizes that, but I sure do.  Anyhow, I am glad the method for the ordination was clear in my head, and there was one right before for a refresher in verbiage and procedure.

Stake Conference last night and today were powerful.  I am impressed by how humble and simple our Stake Presidency is.  I have to admit, President Curtis Crane is a man I want to be like.  I see in him a type of person I want to be like.  I hope there is time.  The meetings included our Temple President speaking last night and our Mission President speaking today.  Of course the Stake Presidency also spoke.  It was good.  Something about hearing a large group of people singing together that always impresses me.  Powerful.

I know I had commented I would give some thoughts about the scriptures as we have been reading along.  Amanda has joined me in the reading and it has been good.  We will be starting in Exodus 32 tonight.  But the last few nights have held a couple of impressions I thought I would share.

The constant view of God to the people continues to amaze me.  The plagues that were taking place in Egypt were surely not unknown to Israel.  Furthermore, the fact that they were spared from the plagues would also be obvious.  While the magicians were able to reproduce some of the early signs (I cannot imagine they were weak reproductions) the power and magnitude became greater and greater.  Each miracle was more recognizable.  Finally, Israel finds themselves crossing through the Red Sea and headed towards a promised land.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”  Exodus 13:21-22.  I find this thought simply beyond comprehension.  Then I wonder if it is so obvious to the people of Israel what is really going on.

The people didn’t seem to recognize what power was leading them.  “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?  wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us out of Egypt?  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?  For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”  Id. at 14:11-12.

Then in the next breath, “And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”  Id. at 14:31.

Right afterward, “the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”  Id. at 15:24.  “[T]he whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.”  Id. at 16:2.

The Lord responds to their pleas.  “Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”  Id. at 16:4.

“How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?”  Id. at 16:28.

“Why chide ye with me?  wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?”  Id. at 17:2.

“And the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?  Id. at 17:4.

“Is the Lord among us, or not?”  Id. at 17:7.

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine.  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”  Id. at 19:4-6.

“Speak thou (Moses) with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  Id. at 20:19.

Anyhow, this is only Exodus, but we see this exchange going back and forth between Israel and the Lord (through Moses).  When will we ever learn to just be obedient and quit expecting the Lord to coddle us?  The next chapter (32) shows where Israel got themselves into quite a bit of trouble for their inability to be constant.  I hope I can be more constant.  I always remember the verse from 1 Nephi 2:12, “And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.”  Hopefully we can all find that relationship with God so that we learn his ways, and his dealings, and we don’t end up like murmuring Israel.

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