A few weeks ago, the girls and I were reading about how the Israelites were griping.
I probably need to be more specific when I say that because the Israelites spent a lot of time griping, didn’t they? In this particular passage, they were complaining about how Moses should have just left them in Egypt. Sure, they’d been miserably treated slaves there, but they’d had the food they needed and the comforts they’d always known. Why had Moses driven them out to the desert where they could rely on nothing apart from the presence of God to sustain them? Why, Moses? Why, God?!
It’s very easy for us to read the account and think poorly of their emotional outburst. We know the whole story, after all, and we can shout from our privileged perspective that God would keep His promises to them. Moses, the very man they despised at several points, would plead for God’s mercy, asking that the Lord would stay His hand of judgment on them (because God was prepared to off all of their whiny butts, you know) and beseeching Him to show them grace for His own glory’s sake. Which He did, again and again, not just as they wandered in the Sinai but as He led through them through a tough history. Judges, failed kingdoms, captivity, and finally His own presence there among them, walking beside them, dying to bring them life that they had no way of comprehending.
He was better to them than they deserved, clearly. And they couldn’t see it. We can see it as we read the text of Scripture, groaning at their idiocy. “Just trust Him! He’s got it covered, y’all! Have some faith!”
It’s easy for us to say that to them. But when it comes to the twenty-first century and all the trappings of modernity and convenience and politics and world changes and the future and my hopes and my dreams and my kids and my life and how my coffee just doesn’t taste right some mornings — why, God?! Why?! Do you know what You’re doing?! Why have You brought me this far just to have me suffer through whatever small beans problem I’ve got going on today?!
Hmm. Maybe we’re just as faithless, huh?
I’m reminded as we read about the Israelites that I’m no different. I will mourn the loss of Egypt because I don’t trust Him to sustain me as He’s leading me to promise. I don’t know what your Egypt is or what manna you’re expecting, but I know my issues. God, can I really trust You when it comes to the future? Can I really believe Your promises when life is hard sometimes? Can I really have faith that You know what you’re doing when I don’t see how You’re working?
They got it wrong. The Israelites got it wrong when they were wandering the Sinai. And the cost was great to the whole generation as they were denied entry into the promised land. But God still provided for them as they wandered, and then, He led their descendants into what He’d promised.
He’s faithful, even when we’re faithless.
When I wonder at what He’s doing and my faith is weak, I’ll remember this.