Weekend, March 19, 2022

Complaining and Wandering

“In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland” (Psalm 106:14 NLT).

Even on foot, it doesn’t take 40 years to walk from Egypt to Israel. So why did the Israelites wander in the wilderness for that long?

They effectively went around in circles because they weren’t learning the lessons God wanted them to learn. Interestingly, they had it made. Every day the Lord provided them with food called manna right outside their tent. The Bible describes it as sweet to the taste and the food of angels (see Exodus 16:31; Psalm 78:24-25).

God also set them up with the ultimate GPS system: a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If the cloud moved, they moved. If the cloud stopped, they stopped. At night, if the fire moved in the sky, they went with it.

They had food to eat and clear guidance as to when and where they should go. But it wasn’t long until people started complaining.

They grew tired of it all and started taking things for granted. They complained, “Oh, for some meat! . . . But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:4, 6 NLT).

As a result, God gave them what they wanted, and it rained quail, literally. Offering commentary on this, Psalm 106 tells us, “So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it” (verse 15 NLT).

The problem with the Israelites was they had forgotten how miserable they were back in Egypt. They had forgotten how they cried out to God again and again for someone to deliver them.

In the same way, the Devil will whisper in the ear of a Christian, “Remember the good old days?” But once you’ve tasted what it is like to have a relationship with God, you never will be satisfied with living your old life again.

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