“The people fell to grumbling over their hard life. God heard. When he heard his anger flared; then fire blazed up and burned the outer boundaries of the camp.” Numbers 11:1 Message
After 400 years of slavery, of previous generations only hoping for freedom, the day came when God fulfilled His Word in the lives of His people. The hardship of Egypt was past, the miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea, all testaments to God’s faithfulness to perform His Word. Their celebrations and dancing at the death of their enemies, their altars built to declare that Jehovah was their Deliverer, were all over and the realities of walking to the promise was now facing them.
You mean, it isn’t all free sailing from here? I don’t get to leave Egypt and enter into a life of luxury and ease? Their unhealthy expectations were quickly brought to the surface as they began their journey towards the promise. They did not like the journey of trust, they did not like the things or the way God provided. They all of a sudden forgot 400 years of struggle, of pain and brokenness, 400 years of longings unfulfilled, of the sweat and tears of those who had gone before them. They were ready to abandon a God who had been faithful to them, simply because they did not like His method that required something of them.
What was God looking for really? Could it be that all of the times He had told them to remember their deliverance, was because He knew that once we begin to forget where He has brought us, we will quickly become a people of frustrated expectations and ungrateful hearts? How can a people move from dancing one day to provoking the anger of God another? What makes us forget Egypt?
Maybe on the journey to the promise we thought we would be able to celebrate our independence rather than celebrate God’s faithfulness? Maybe we believed that life would get easier and we would not have to fight for the things we were to take hold of? Maybe we had a preconceived idea of what deliverance should look like that was false and left God out? If these are potential beliefs we have held onto, then our christian journey will be a disappointment. We will be frustrated, and it will quickly be said of us, “the people fell into grumbling over their hard life.”
Could God just be wanting something very basis here from His people, and from us? Remember Him. For when we forget what He has brought us through we will begin to compare ourselves with others, and with our preconceived ideas of how God should work. When we do this, ingratitude will rise up, because whether we like it or not, God is not subject to our plans. He will not conform to our pattern of thinking. We must conform to His.
A heart that is not willing to conform to God’s idea of life will be a frustrated and ungrateful heart.
Before we are too hard on the children of Israel, can you find yourself in there somewhere? Tired of the same food, tired of walking the same road, weary of lack of progress? What is your response to these places? Gratitude to a God who has brought you this far or frustration because deliverance didn’t look like you thought it should?
Maybe it is time to expose grumbling and complaining for what it really is, sin.
Today I am grateful to a God who picked up this teenage girl and placed her on a path of love and liberty. I am reminded today that without Him, I would be stuck in Egypt and a slave to a former life. I confess, like the children of Israel, I have been found grumbling when things did not go as I thought they should, but I am so thankful that He is transforming my thinking. I want to conform to His pattern of thought and lay mind on the altar of surrender. If things never look like I think they should, may this heart be found praising instead of complaining.