Israel had a very tempestuous existence in the wilderness. It was a hard existence. It was a wandering existence. It was longer than it needed to be. It was more discouraging that it should have been. It was the occasion of more temptation than they should have had. Such is the nature of wilderness wanderings, physically and spiritually.
There are a number of reasons that could be provided as a reason for their wanderings. Of course unbelief is immediately recognized as a primary cause of their wilderness experience. They simply did not believe God and it cost them dearly! I wonder, though if there may be something even more fundamental than unbelief? Maybe forgetfulness.
Psalms 106:21 informs us that, They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt.
It would seem if one forgets God it becomes increasingly difficult to believe God. Being preoccupied with our problems produces a subtle shift in our perspective. God is more easily forgotten in the context of pondering our problems.
How much do we forget of what God has done for us? It is interesting that God is here referred to as their saviour. Indeed he was. He delivered them from Egyptian bondage! They had forgotten. It seems fitting to make a stirring application. If we are not careful we can make a habit of forgetting the wrong things and remembering the wrong things and before you know it we will just be all wrong, wandering in a wilderness that is harsh, unforgiving, discouraging, and be there longer than we need to facing temptations we should have never had to face.
God did great things in Egypt and they had forgotten. I know we like to think we would not have forgotten. But name ten great things God has done for you personally. Not ten great things God has done for other people at other times. Ten great things God has done for you! When our focus is on our problems we will find it hard to remember the great things God our saviour has done for us.
When we forget it does not make God weaker it makes us weaker! Just because we forget doesn't mean it didn't happen it just means we will be more likely to suffer the discouragements of the wilderness instead of enjoying the bounty of the Promised Land.