40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 19
Weekly Theme: Through the Wilderness
Today‚Äôs Meditation: Israel ‚Äì Complain, Complain Complain!
They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, ‚ÄúWould 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.‚Äù (Exodus 16:1-3)
What would it have been like to see the ten plagues, the death of Egypt‚Äôs firstborns, the parting the Red Sea, A guardian pillar of cloud that held off Pharaoh‚Äôs chariots, and the subsequent drowning of the Egyptian army. Can you imagine being a witness to this display of God‚Äôs power on your behalf? What more could God have done to show His love to the Israelites? Look at the lengths He is willing to go to free them! Surely they took notice of this.
Now, it‚Äôs a two and a half months later. How do the Children of Israel respond to the God who has freed them from their bondage? Exodus 16:2 says, ‚ÄúIn the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, ‚ÄúIf only we had died by the Lord‚Äôs 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.‚Äù Can you believe this response? Do they seem grateful for God‚Äôs dramatic rescue effort on their behalf? Absolutely not! They are grumbling! Complain, complain, complain!! They don‚Äôt just complain about the food, it seems like they actually want to go back to Egypt? The worst part of their response is not that they are ungrateful. It is that they make God out to be a murderer. They say, ‚ÄúHaving the Lord kill us back in Egypt would be better than this‚Äù!! So, what do you think of their response?
What is causing the Israelites to forget God‚Äôs dramatic handiwork? What are they thinking? In Exodus 16:3, The Israelites said to them, ‚ÄúIf only we had died by the Lord‚Äôs 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.‚Äù
Can we determine from this passage what the Israelites are thinking? Why, they are focused on their bellies! That sounds just like my kids! They want food!! Rather than turn to God, their powerful deliverer, and ask Him to provide food for them, they make accusations against God and speak fondly about going back into slavery where they could at least eat some food. What are they focused on? They are focused on the natural and physical things of the world. With this misplaced focus, they are more interested in the natural than the supernatural! They were willing to give up their freedom and God‚Äôs epic purpose for some food to fill their bellies.
What was it that they were missing by focusing on the natural and physical rather than the supernatural and the spiritual? God had designed an Exodus out of Egypt that included provisions for their journey. Manna and quail would be supplied for them. Their journey would lead them to Mount Sinai where they would become His covenant people ‚Äì His family ‚Äì the first born among the nations. Then, they would be given a land ‚Äì the Promised Land, where they would serve as a messenger of God‚Äôs love to the nations. God had mighty plans for them, but because they were focused on the now, on the natural and on meeting their physical needs, they would have preferred bondage than have to endure hardship within God‚Äôs providential plan. Rather than comply and commit, all they could do was complain, complain, complain.
Before we become to pious, let‚Äôs realize that in many ways, we do the same thing. Our meditation tomorrow will take this fact into consideration as we look at the disciples and ourselves.
Prayer for Today
Praise God for His providential plan that includes us
Give thanks to Jesus who is our deliverer
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask the Lord for forgiveness
Receive His forgiveness
Give thanks for the blessings God has given you
Commit to being a thankful person
And the Lord said to Moses, 12 ‚ÄúI have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‚ÄòAt twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God‚Äô‚Äù (Exodus 16:11-12).