Check the Grumbling!

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water because it was bitter. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water. 

They set out from Elim, and the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses, ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you.’ And Moses said, ‘Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.’ And Moses said , ‘Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.’” Exodus 15:22-25,27; 16:1-4,8,33

As soon as the thrill of God’s miraculous dividing of the sea and deliverance of millions of Israelites from the feisty, dominant Egyptians had waned, focus turned inward and life became small again. The God whose awesome, unimaginable strength held back the waters for His people, whose breath dried the seabed beneath their feet and wheels, was now so small in their minds He was incapable of feeding them? Or was it that they forgot His majestic grandeur and failed to think of Him at all?

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When life is all about me, how quickly I forget the goodness and power of God! I can be hasty to castigate Israel for so quickly grumbling– only three days after their supernatural escape– yet in moments, reduce my own attitude to grumble at any inconvenience, discomfort, delay. I can allow the poison of comparison, media negativity, personal rights to disgruntle my outlook, taint my speech, and squelch any gratitude in my heart.

Where do my eyes go when my going gets tough? Where does my mind travel? Do I spit the bitter water and growl for grumbling’s sake, instead of raising my sights and hope and trust to the One who is ready to answer?

How careful am I to store up God’s ‘manna,’ in a journal or my Bible, so I can readily recount His faithfulness? Whom am I telling of His deeds, that they might expectantly look to Him in need? Do I make a practice of writing letters or otherwise documenting for the next generation?

Father, keep my view of You large, and of myself small. Keep me glorying in Your magnificent splendor and greatness, and thanking You for every good gift. May I decrease, and You increase– in my mind, my spoken word, and my countenance. (John 3:30; James 1:17)

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