Have you ever had to put up with a chronic complainer, a person who gripes about anything and everything? The Israelites who come out of Egypt must have numbered many such people among themselves. They grumbled against God and His appointed representative, Moses, over and over again.
For example, after the spies brought back a negative report of the Promised Land, they began looking for someone to take them back to Egypt! But this rebellion was merely the worst in a long series of complaints:Exodus 14.12 – pursued by the armies of Pharaoh, they complained they would rather have remained as slaves in Egypt.
- Exodus 16.3 – lacking food, they complained they would rather have died in Egypt.
- Exodus 17.3 – lacking water, they complained that Moses had led them out into the wilderness.
- Numbers 11.5-18 – tired of manna, they complained they had better food in Egypt.
- umbers 14.1-4 – despondent over the report of the spies, they complained they would have rather died in Egypt.
Why is it so easy to forget God’s goodness when we feel threatened, tired, or dissatisfied? Why do we so often respond to our immediate circumstances with a longing for the “good ole days” – even, if in truth, those days were worse than these days?
The lesson of these Israelites, as Paul pointed out to the Corinthians, is to watch out when we feel tempted to complain. Though many circumstances are beyond our ability to handle, nothing is beyond God’s ability. Our challenge is to keep faith in His faithfulness.