Lesson Seven: Dealing with Disappointment
The people of Israel suffered through 430 years of slavery in Egypt. God’s way of delivering the Jewish nation was to bring ten plagues upon the Egyptians until Pharaoh finally relented and let His people go. God could have chosen to simply soften Pharaoh’s heart and bypassed all of the foreboding and disastrous plagues. Yes, the Israelites were supernaturally protected by the hand of God through the ten plagues but I’m sure their emotions were on edge in the process. Also, they would now be uprooted from everything they had ever known and the only place to go would be the wilderness.
I’m sure for many Israelites a familiar captivity was more desirable than an uncertain freedom. Yet, as the tenth and final plague approached and Moses explained to the Jewish people the devastating consequences of the plague and the preparations they would need to make in order to leave their homes and be led by God into the desert (a frightening prospect) here is their response:
“And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” -Exodus 12:27
When trials come and disaster strikes it’s easy to question God’s wisdom. When we question the infallibility of God’s wisdom, disappointment with God can overcome us and disappointment can lead to resentment toward the One who reigns above. Yet, in all the Jewish people had gone through, their response to God was worship. After Job experienced great loss and tragedy his response to God was free from resentment:
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this job did not sin or charge God with wrong” -Job 1:20-22
It was reported by German SS guards stationed in the death camps during the Holocaust that they often heard singing coming from the gas chambers. And what was the song the Jewish men, women, and children sang as the diesel engines began to cough and spurt out dizzying and stomach-turning fumes, carburetors choking from the ashes of the crematorium ovens in a kind of low, guttural, pulsating rhythm that almost sounded like a voice muttering something about the grave, and pumping Zyklon B gas into innocent lungs? The song they sang was inspired by Deuteronomy 6, and it is known as the Shema:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the lord is One. Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom for ever and ever. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Remarkably, these Jewish martyrs, systematically hunted down by the Nazis in every fissure and crack and ghetto in Europe, their gaunt and dehydrated bodies crammed and pressed by strong Aryan backs into cattle cars with no ventilation or light, carried to certain death solely because they were God’s chosen people, whispered out their final breaths to laud this same God as worthy of their total love and devotion. This is heart-wrenching. You would think their voices would have been lifted in defiance and protest toward the God of heaven. Instead, they sang Him an anthem of praise.
As we face an economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 virus, many people have lost their jobs, income, and businesses. A great lesson we can learn from Israel’s response to the plagues is to not allow resentment toward God or disappointment in His sovereignty to seep into our souls. God did not create this virus. God’s ways are perfect, His wisdom is infallible, and He cannot be improved upon. We can trust Him through this season of loss and crisis. He will see us through the wilderness we find ourselves in. The good and right response to God in times like these is to bow our heads in worship.