The sea is turned away, Pharaoh’s army is destroyed, manna comes from heaven, rocks give forth water, and millions of quails appear from an empty sky.
Even with all this, not to mention the 10 Plagues that have just happened and 400 years of slavery are over, the people still grumble and look back to Egypt at every little stumbling block or problem.
Isn’t this what we all do? Isn’t the grass always greener somewhere other than where we are in our lives? And don’t we spend more time “killing the messenger” than dealing with the source of our problems?
Throughout the journey in the Desert we read, over and over, how the people grumbled against Moshe. “We don’t have food”, “We don’t have water”, “We don’t want you to be the only leader”, “The people in the land are too strong for us”, yadda-yadda-yadda! Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch!
And they did this despite the many miraculous events that they witnessed: and we’re not talking about reading of it in the morning paper, or watching it happen on You Tube! They were eye witnesses, they lived through these things, they walked on dry land with a wall of water on both sides. They knew all these things had happened, that God had done it, yet the first time they stub their little toe they are totally fed up and want to go back to being slaves! Oy!
Yet, we are no different today. You disagree? Maybe some of you do, so let’s think about this: when you start a new job, haven’t you noticed that when others are running around you are calm and you can handle things? You think “This isn’t such a big deal”, right? Then a year later, you are running around just the same way while the newbie is thinking, “This isn’t such a big deal.”
How many times have you been in a situation where you seem calm and others are not, yet there are times you can’t see any hope, running around tearing your hair out by the roots, and others are calm? Look close at your experiences and you will see that we are all the same as the young and immature Nation of Israel was in the desert- always complaining, forgetting the blessings, not trusting even in trustworthy things, all because of our petty and selfish desires for comfort and ease.
This is a lesson for us all- God is always present, God is capable, and we need to trust in Him to form our future while we let go of the past. There are two things that no one can ever do- change the past or go back to it. The past is just that- past. It is gone, and whatever was good about it is a memory, just as whatever was bad about it is also a memory. It is up to us to choose how we live: in the past, the present, or the future.
God wants us to remember the past so that we can do what is right in the present, which will secure our future.
(Please read that again because it can change your life)
The people of Israel knew that God was with them and that He was capable of doing everything and anything that they needed. He had sent the plagues, He split the sea, He provided them manna to eat and water to drink, and when they cried out for meat He gave millions meat for a month! In the midst of the desert, no less!
True, they did have some issues: no water or food, the most powerful army in the world coming to destroy them with hundreds of chariots. OK, I will give you that these are somewhat significant, but may I remind you that these people saw the plagues, they saw the sea close behind them while still open in front of them, they saw the pillars of cloud and fire guide them and protect them. I mean, c’mon? How much more do you need to realize that there is a great power that is on your side?
We need to ask ourselves how many seas have opened before us? How many times did we receive water and food during times we were in a “desert?” And how often do we gripe and cry about things that are, in the light of God’s majesty and awesome Grace, so unimportant and childish, that we should feel ashamed?
Shaul complained about a “thorn in the side” that he had to deal with, and that God answered his prayers to remove it by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.” God’s grace is sufficient for all of us: it was sufficient in Egypt, in was sufficient in the desert, it was sufficient during the time of the Judges, and throughout all history it has been sufficient.
Are you satisfied with the manna God provides for you, or do you want the leeks of Egypt? The people forgot that those leeks,vegetables and meat they had were given to them like farmers feed their pigs, in big pots that were shared by all. They also forgot that whatever they received in Egypt was given to slaves, not free people. They forgot that before they ate they were worked, whipped and mistreated all day, every day. There was no 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch; there was only every day, sun-up to sunset, 7 days a week, every week of the year for their entire lifetime.
Look to your life for the good and do what you can to overlook the bad, even if it seems insurmountable to you. Look instead to all that God has done for you; list it in your head. I guarantee that no matter how terrible it seems right now, no matter how thirsty you feel, how hungry, or how many chariots are coming after you, when you remember and count all of God’s blessings you have received you will realize that even during the worst times of your life, you are blessed.
Let’s not be like the people in the desert, grumbling against those that are just doing their jobs (who take orders from someone else) and always looking back at what we perceive to be better days. No matter how bad it seems right now, there’s a good chance you may find yourself looking back at this very moment and wishing you had it as good as you do now! That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
Trust in God, look for the blessings He has given you and believe and trust that He only wants what is best for you. Trust in the Lord and you will see His majesty, His power and His compassion rain down upon you as though the very floodgates of heaven were opened over your head. Read His word (all of it) and obey His word (all of it) and He will bless you in everything you do. Yes, you will still have tsouris in your life because that is part of life. Only the dead have no problems, so if you want a problem-less life, well…not the best alternative, is it?
Stop kvetching about everything and get on with it. Walk in faith and the seas will split for you, the rocks will give you water and the heavens will provide you sustenance.
At the Red Sea, as the Egyptian army was coming after them, God asked Moshe why he was crying out to Him, and told Moshe to tell the people to start walking. The seas hadn’t split open yet, but God said to start walking. That is what we need to do- walk in faith before we see what God is doing. Walk in faith, as God told Moshe and the people to do, and you will see the salvation of the Lord appear before you!