This week I’ve been reading in Exodus. It drove home to me how easy it is to get caught up in a poor-me mentality.
The Hebrew people had just watched God perform incredible, mind-blowing miracles before their very eyes — from horrific plagues, to parting the Red Sea — yet as soon as they’re thirsty they fall into grumbling.
God impressed on me how often people grumble just because we can’t see that “blessing around the bend” like I’ve written about before. God knows His people need water and He knows how long they can go without. He also knows they need food and He knows how long they can go without.
In Exodus 15, just after the people of God have grumbled about the bitter water and He turns it sweet, God leads them to Elim with its twelve springs of water and 70 palm trees. It made me wonder, “God KNEW that they were going to get to Elim, yet they didn’t wait on Him … they wanted water NOW.”
Then, in Exodus 16, the people are grumbling about their hunger and wishing they were back in Egypt. God says, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you.” (Exodus 16:4) Is he ABOUT to because they have grumbled, or because He was already about to do it and once again they refused to WAIT on Him? Doesn’t God know that the humans that He created have to eat? Yes, He does. He knows us. He remembers that we are dust. He knows our every need.
I am absolutely not saying that we should not cry out to God and lay our hearts bare before Him. We should. God is such a good Father and He loves it when we humble ourselves before Him. But, grumbling is not humbling ourselves. Grumbling is being selfish, demanding our way. Crying out to Him that you need a drink or need a morsel of bread, is not the same as complaining that He has brought you out into this stinking desert and left you here to die!
One other thought I had in reading these passages about the grumbling Hebrews was about who they were grumbling against. Each time they grumbled to Moses, saying that HE had led them out to die in the wilderness. Yet, truly they are grumbling against God. Moses tells the people, “Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.” (Exodus 16:8)
Am I really trusting in God who has brought me to this very place and time, or am I just trusting in myself or in my circumstances? When I find myself grumbling, as I often do, what does that say about my faith in God?
As 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” May we not grumble or grow discouraged, but may we TRUST God, believing that He knows our needs, that He knows the future and that He cares for us.