"He revealed His character to Moses and His acts to the people of Israel." Psalm 103:7....."The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last, all hope was gone.....The God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and He said, 'Don't be afraid Paul....so take courage. For I believe God. It will be just a He said." Acts 27:20, 24-25
When you first read Psalm 103:7, do you catch the difference between Moses and the people of Israel? Think on this. Both the people and Moses had been on the same journey, experiencing the same things. They had both seen Him do miraculous wonders in Egypt that led to their being set free by Pharaoh. They had both witnessed Him part the Red Sea and make a way through to escape the Egyptian army pursuing them. Both had seen His wonders in the wilderness, His provision, protection, and presence. Yet there was a great difference between them. The people knew about what God did. Moses knew who God was. Whatever relationship the people had with God was based upon what He was doing, and conversely, what He was not doing. That outlook will always lead to viewing Him as "good" when He acts as we wish, and "not good" when He doesn't. Everything is based on His activity, or lack of it in our lives. That attitude is seen throughout the people of Israel's relationship with their God in Scripture. How much of that attitude exists in you and me?
Moses' knowledge of His God was far deeper and far more real. Moses loved to be in His Presence. So much so that his face would glow with His glory after his encounters with Him. The people on the other hand, were content to let Moses be their go-between with the Father. They preferred to keep their distance. No one ever saw the glory of His Presence upon their faces. Do they see it upon ours?
Fast forward to Paul, sailing on a ship to Rome. The Rome that the Holy Spirit had told Paul he was going to. That ship was caught in the middle of a terrible storm. The middle is oftentimes the most difficult place for us to be.... The ship was going to sink, and the Lord told Paul that it would be so. He also told him that everyone on that ship would reach safety on the island of Malta. Paul told all the others on on board that the Lord had promised him that, and that he believed it would happen, "just as He told me." How could he make such a statement? He could because he knew the Father's character just as Moses had. He knew who He was, not just what He did. Because of that, he could trust Him in the middle of a life threatening storm. He could trust Him as he watched his former place of safety sink beneath the waves. He could trust Him as he clung to a piece of that ships wood, cast adrift in the water. He could trust Him when all visible hope was gone. He could trust Him because He knew Him, could "see" Him, and so knew all would take place just as He promised. The issue of trust and belief had been settled with Paul, because he knew in whom he believed Has it been settled with us? Do we really know and believe Him as well?
When it comes down to it, who do we more closely resemble? Moses and Paul or the people of Israel, and the rest of the passengers on the ship? Are we long time observers of the Father, or those who intimately know Him and His ways? Do we live off His blessings, or in the heart of the One who blesses? Is all our knowledge based on what He is, or isn't doing? Or, do we know that even in the midst of the middle of life's most awful storms, where all visible hope may be missing, He isn't? Do we know His acts, but not the One who acts? The answer to that will come in the midst of our next shipwreck or earthquake. The next time we find ourselves in the scary middle. The next time we're adrift in the sea, clinging to a small piece of wood. If we've been nothing but observers of Him, we're likely to sink. If we're His intimates, He'll get us to "Malta," just as He promised.