Reading: Exodus 16: 2-15
Verse Eight: You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.
Complaining is something we can slip into pretty easily. When the grass looks a little greener over there, when we did not quite get our way, when we have to wait for something, when we feel we have been treated unfairly, … There are many reasons we can find to complain. And sometimes we too may blame God or question God at a minimum.
The Israelites are out in the desert and they are starving. The quick food they took with them when they hastily exited Egypt is gone and the desert does not provide much to eat. The people come and complain to Moses and Aaron – if only we’d “died by the Lord’s hand back in Egypt”. Die in the Passover plagues rather than be free? But we are hungry! Oh to be back in Egypt where “we sat around pots if meat and ate all we wanted”. Oh for the good old days! The Israelites ‘long’ for death or at least slavery again. We too can be pretty immature and a bit whiny in our complaints.
When one resorts to complaining, one usually needs to look within oneself to find a cause. Sometimes we forget all of the blessings we have in our life and focus on that one thing instead. Sometimes we simply forget to be grateful and skip right to discontent. We dwell on envy and jealousy and want. And sometimes we forget to trust God. We forget all the times God did and we don’t believe God will ever provide again and the grumbling begins.
In our passage today, the people grumble to Moses and Aaron, but they are just the middle men. Moses says to the people: “You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord”. It is true for them just as it is true for each of us at times. We too can flout a sense of entitlement and can put on a pout when we do not get our way or when we feel like we are being treated unfairly. But this is not the witness we get elsewhere in the Bible when we look at the faithful. We see Jesus always looking to give, not to receive. We see Paul being content in all circumstances, even when in want. We see God providing for His people over and over and over again. When we really take the time to reflect on our own lives, we see the same constant provision. May we trust in His Word and His love and may we live it out in our lives this day!