The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:3
Our Lord is SO patient…
Have you ever yearned and even cried out to the Lord to escape a given situation and later gotten your desire only to find yourself dreaming of the previously hidden pleasantries? Maybe you heard that ‘louder than life’ voice in the recesses of your mind saying, “At least there was x, y or z…!” And maybe those words actually made it out of your mouth.
Rest assured, you aren’t alone.
By this time in history, the Israelites were in their second month of their 40 year journey… oh my.
Have you ever heard the saying (or said it yourself), “I didn’t sign up for this.”
It’s tempting isn’t it; to complain?
Our Israeli brothers and sisters had already lived a hard life to this point. Their life of slavery meant hard physical labor in difficult conditions while the Egyptians enjoyed the best of material possessions like gold, gem stones and beautiful fine linen not to mention the amazing food right in front of them. I can imagine the young 20 something Hebrew lady laying awake at night wondering if she and her family would ever experience freedom from the life of slavery.
Then Moses came along and their lives were filled with hope; for a moment, then defeat as the Pharaoh made their lives harder. Then hope returned, and the roller coaster continued.
No doubt in those first steps away from the life of slavery they experienced a rush of adrenaline with bright hopes for the future. God had just allowed them to gather all those amazing riches from the Egyptians that would make anyone today feel like they’d literally struck gold! They were beginning their journey into their new life in the promised land. The life of their dreams…
Now they were three days into their travels through the desert and behaving like restless, tired children in the back seat of a car during a long road trip; with maybe a bit more drama.
We don’t know if they still had a water supply or if they were out. We do know they decided to let Moses know their thoughts. And I don’t know about you, but as I read through the chapter, I never saw a confession or repentant spirit. Have you been there? I’m not proud to say that I have.
Where is that fine line between recognizing harsh realities and sharing your heart with your Lord versus complaining? Though I don’t have the answer to that, it is certainly something He can answer.
From my personal experience, when I ask the Lord to quicken my recognition of my own complaining spirit, He has been amazingly faithful. Unfortunately, I don’t always make the right choice even with that quickening of my spirit. The good news… He will find a way to remind us and bring us to the place of confession and repentance so we can move forward in His full measure of joy.
He also knows the heart of every person. He knows the aches and joys, the realities of outward circumstances and inward depths. And He is always available, always accessible, always ready for you and me to experience Him with a mere thought of His name.
Lord, open my eyes to your presence when I’m tempted to complain. Amen