Introduction

One of the hallmarks of a mature Believer is that they have come to realize that every sign and miracle documented in the Bible has a deeper, more significant spiritual meaning than just the wondrous act itself. In the Gospels, for instance, a miracle performed by Jesus is almost always an extension of His teaching provided just before or after it. The adrenaline of inspiration in the wake of a miracle is short-lived, but someone learning and applying the right lesson from it is changed forever. One of the best examples of this is to look at the generation of Israelites who God freed from Egypt and guided across the wilderness into Canaan. They experienced signs and miracles unparalleled until the time of Christ’s First Coming. How they handled them provides valuable teaching concerning their greater meaning and application.
1Listen, O my people, to my
instruction;
Incline your ears to the words
of my mouth.
2I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
3Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
4We will not conceal them fro
their children,
But tell to the generation to come
the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous
works that He has done.
 

5For He established a testimony in
Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to
their children,
6That the generation to come
might know, even the children yet
to be born,
That they may arise and tell them
to their children,
7That they should put their
confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
8And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious
generation,
A generation that did not prepare
its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to
God.

 
9The sons of Ephraim were archers
equipped with bows,
Yet they turned back in the day of
battle.
10They did not keep the covenant
of God
And refused to walk in His law;
11They forgot His deeds
And His miracles that He had shown
them.
12He wrought wonders before their
fathers
In the land of Egypt, in the field of
Zoan.
13He divided the sea and caused
them to pass through,
And He made the waters stand up
like a heap.
14Then He led them with the cloud
by day
And all the night with a light of fire.
15He split the rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant drink like
the ocean depths.
16He brought forth streams also from
the rock
And caused waters to run down like
rivers.
 
17Yet they still continued to sin
against Him,
To rebel against the Most High in the
desert.
18And in their heart they put God to
the test
By asking food according to their
desire.
19Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare a table
in the wilderness?
20Behold, He struck the rock so that
waters gushed out,
And streams were overflowing;
Can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?”
 

21Therefore the Lord heard and was
full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against
Israel,
22Because they did not believe in
God
And did not trust in His salvation.
23Yet He commanded the clouds
above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24He rained down manna upon
them to eat
And gave them food from heaven.
25Man did eat the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.
26He caused the east wind to blow
in the heavens
And by His power He directed the
south wind.
27When He rained meat upon them
like the dust,
Even winged fowl like the sand of
the seas,
28Then He let them fall in the midst
of their camp,
Round about their dwellings.
29So they ate and were well filled,
And their desire He gave to them.
30Before they had satisfied their
desire,
While their food was in their
mouths,
31The anger of God rose against
them
And killed some of their stoutest
ones,
And subdued the choice men of
Israel.
32In spite of all this they still sinned
And did not believe in His
wonderful works.
33So He brought their days to an
end in futility
And their years in sudden terror.

 

34When He killed them, then they
sought Him,
And returned and searched diligently
for God;
35And they remembered that God
was their rock,
And the Most High God their
Redeemer.
36But they deceived Him with their
mouth
And lied to Him with their tongue.
37For their heart was not steadfast
toward Him,
Nor were they faithful in His
covenant.
38But He, being compassionate,
forgave their iniquity and did
not destroy them;
And often He restrained His anger
And did not arouse all His wrath.
39Thus He remembered that they
were but flesh,
A wind that passes and does not
return.

 
40How often they rebelled against
Him in the wilderness
And grieved Him in the desert!
41Again and again they tempted God,
And pained the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember His power,
The day when He redeemed them
from the adversary,
43When He performed His signs in
Egypt
And His marvels in the field of Zoan,
44And turned their rivers to blood,
And their streams, they could not
drink.
45He sent among them swarms of
flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
46He gave also their crops to the
grasshopper
And the product of their labor to
the locust.
47He destroyed their vines
with hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
48He gave over their cattle also to
the hailstones
And their herds to bolts of lightning.
49He sent upon them His burning
anger,
Fury and indignation and trouble,
A band of destroying angels.
50He leveled a path for His anger;
He did not spare their soul from
death,
But gave over their life to the
plague,
51And smote all the firstborn in
Egypt,
The first issue of their virility in
the tents of Ham.
52But He led forth His own people
like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness
like a flock;
53He led them safely, so that they
did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.

 
54So He brought them to His holy
land,
To this hill country which His right
hand had gained.
55He also drove out the nations
before them
And apportioned them for an
inheritance by measurement,
And made the tribes of Israel dwell
in their tents.
56Yet they tempted and rebelled
against the Most High God
And did not keep His testimonies,
57But turned back and acted
treacherously like their fathers;
They turned aside like a treacherous
bow.
58For they provoked Him with their
high places
And aroused His jealousy with their
graven images.
59When God heard, He was filled
with wrath
And greatly abhorred Israel;
60So that He abandoned the dwelling
place at Shiloh,
The tent which He had pitched
among men,
61And gave up His strength to
captivity
And His glory into the hand of the
adversary.
62He also delivered His people to
the sword,
And was filled with wrath at His
inheritance.
63Fire devoured His young men,
And His virgins had no wedding songs.
64His priests fell by the sword,
And His widows could not weep.

 
65Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep,
Like a warrior overcome by wine.
66He drove His adversaries backward;
He put on them an everlasting reproach.
67He also rejected the tent of Joseph,
And did not choose the tribe of
Ephraim,
68But chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion which He loved.
69And He built His sanctuary like the
heights,
Like the earth which He has founded
forever.
70He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71From the care of the ewes with
suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72So he shepherded them according
to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful
hands.