The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” – Exodus 16:1-8 (NIV)
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”
Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”
“Nobody likes a whiner.” It makes a good t-shirt or bumper sticker, but the reality is that we are all whiners at some point. There is something that nags us or puts us in a sour mood when in reality, our life is just fine. Times come our way when a sacrifice is required for a good cause and we can find ourselves basking in self-pity when no one thanks us for giving up so much. We all have our weak moments, and this was a weak moment for the children of Israel.
Often it is the ones closest to us that feel the brunt of our grumbling, but we are really grumbling at God. Just as the Israelites’ grumbling at Moses and Aaron was really grumbling at God. There really is no telling what God was willing to provide His people if they had shown gratitude and humility. They only got the minimum of what they asked for – meat and bread. They were headed to the land of milk and honey, and God may have given them a foretaste on the journey, but instead they ate the same thing every day for 40 years.
This is a lesson that many children never learn. There are way too many people out there believing they deserve a perfect life. I have met too many people who seem to think that God owes them something. Children need to learn the lies behind this way of thinking. It will save them from a lot of pain, suffering, wasted time and embarrassment. Complaining, whining, grumbling – these are not the characteristics of God’s faithful. We need to teach our children how to be grateful and content and the best way to do it is by being grateful and contents ourselves.
I want my daughters to experience the amazing and unexpected of God’s providence. I want them to live lives marked by gratitude and grace. As a father, I must be disciplined in modeling this before my daughters. Lord, help me to live the life of gratitude and contentment. Help me to lead my children into a right relationship with their God. Amen.