True confession time this morning: I was a terrible teacher! Though had I studied hard and finished my teacher training nothing had prepared me for the reality of a classroom. The kids were way smarter than me and unimpressed with my grade point average; unmoved by my compassion and uninterested in my presentation. What I was lacking was patience and a strategy for moving them towards the goal of learning anything. In the end I walked away from teaching and went into business. I found that running crews of men was way easier than convincing tenth graders to love English poetry!
God on the other hand is a great teacher. He first delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and then parted the Red Sea so they could escape from Pharaoh’s army. In the desert He sent them honey flavored manna every morning and fresh water from a rock at noon. But instead of trusting and obeying Him; His class doubted His goodness, provoked him with idol worship and decided going back to Egypt was a better idea. Just about then if I were in God’s shoes the book of Exodus would have been much shorter and may have had the title of “They All Died in the Desert”!
But God is not like me at all. He is infinitely patient and kind. Yes there were consequences for the people; some of them very severe, but in spite of everything He stayed with them. He lovingly corrected, provided and then guided them through forty long years in the desert. The wonderful news for us is that in spite of our goof-ups, failures and sins; God won’t give up on us. He has forgiven us from the cross and he has called us to follow Him all through our wilderness. He is a patient teacher and a Good shepherd. He won’t quit and go into some other business but rather He promises to walk with us and guide us all the way home!