As most of you know, I have developed a great interest; I would take it even further than that and call it a passion
, for the Old Testament. Several years ago the Lord led me to study Torah (the first five books), and He began to open and expand my understanding tremendously. I was having so much fun, I kept going. So far I have gone through I and II Kings--and I am still going!
I love reading the stories and digging into the Hebrew culture and language. But in my reading, I was shocked, or maybe disappointed would be a better description, that the children of Israel were able to believe God could get them out
of Egypt, but they could not believe he could get them into
the Promised Land.
It is frustrating. They had survived ten supernatural plagues; they watched in horror as death claimed all the firstborn children in Egypt—yet not one of them died. They had witnessed the unbelievable sight of a sea piling up on both sides to open a dry passage right through it—and they walked through the sea! Then they watched in amazement as the sea fell in on Pharaoh and his army, drowning them. The Scripture tells us: "The LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore . . . the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him . . ." (Exodus 14:30-31).
How excited Israel was! They were now saved! They began to dance and sing on the banks of the sea, rejoicing over His victory and their deliverance! Their old life was gone and a new life was theirs to have and enjoy. They were filled with anticipation of a glorious new life in a land of beauty and rest. " You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance . . . the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established" (Exodus 15:17).
Then look: "On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt . . . the whole congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron . . . ‘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 16:1-3). Ah, the little babies! Grow up! It was only six weeks after leaving Egypt that the people were down in the pit of despair—griping and complaining! They were miserable, and afraid. They had forgotten all about God's miraculous power. In the months ahead, these same people doubted God ten different times!
It reminds me of the little old lady who walked into a department store and just as she entered the store an employee handed her $100 and congratulated her on being the millionth customer! Yahoo! Then the clerk looked at her and said, "Oh, by the way, What brought you to our store today?" She was obviously a little shocked and said sheepishly, "To make a complaint!". Oops!
Here’s the problem, when we grumble; when we gripe and complain, we are not only embarrassing our Father who simply wants us to "Shine as lights in the world . . ."We are offending Him.
We can call it whatever we want: griping
, or belly-aching
. King Jim's version calls it “murmuring
.” I don't care what you call it, complaining is still the same. The dictionary defines it as “an expression of unhappiness
, or discontent
.” Complaining is the outward expression of discontent from within.
How did YHWH deal with the Children of Israel when they were griping
, and belly-aching
? Well, He always considered their complaints as an act of unbelief—directed toward Him. When they complained about their circumstances, their type of food, and even at Moses, God was displeased because they were not being thankful for what He had provided for them. He was disappointed that they refused to trust Him to provide, protect, and direct the order of their lives. “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1).
That's serious! So let's spend some time considering this . . .
(I send out messages like each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)