December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“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.’”—Exodus 16:6–8 (NIV)
There’s a great deal to unpack today . . .
The people of Israel had left the safe haven of Elim and were running out of food, so they grumbled and complained (AGAIN) to Moses and Aaron saying, “You have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3 NIV). They accused Moses and Aaron of bringing them there. This is why Moses says, “Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
The people thought they were complaining against Moses and Aaron, but they were really complaining against the Lord. Friends, when we complain about our circumstances, what we have, and everything around us, we’re actually complaining against the Lord Himself, who has ordained our steps and placed us where we are!
You’d think that after everything they’d seen and experienced, Israel would already know the Lord brought them out of Egypt and not Moses—and if the Lord brought them this far, He’d continue to be faithful. But experiences, even great experiences, don’t change the heart as much as we think. This is why Peter says, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10 ESV). Emotional experiences apart from true commitment and Spirit-initiated transformation make for frail, shallow faith like seeds planted in rocky ground (Matthew 13:5).
But the Lord is gracious and patient. Moses tells them He will give them meat to eat in the evening and all the bread they want in the morning because He has heard them complain. Despite their faithlessness, entitlement, and ingratitude, God still shows Himself faithful to His promises and merciful to those whom He chose as His own.
How often do we doubt, complain, and fail to recognize the blessings, provision, and hand of the Lord around us? How often do we approach the place the Lord has positioned us with ingratitude, and even resentment, yet He’s still patient, provides, and reveals His power and goodness to us?
So, how can we guard against this attitude? HUMILITY!
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life”—Philippians 2:12–16 (NIV)
In humility, without grumbling or complaining, we can not only avoid the trappings the Israelites fell prey to, but also grow in faith and love for the Lord and shine the light of His glory amongst those who don’t yet know Him.
Pause: What quality do the Israelites lack in the desert? What can we do to keep ourselves from making the same mistakes?
Practice: Do a word study on humility in the Scriptures.
Pray: Lord, I pray that by Your Spirit, I would learn from the mistakes of the Israelites and in humility recognize Your hand of provision, protection, favor, love, and faithfulness over my life. Even in difficulty, struggle, trials, and trauma, may I not be prone to complaining, entitlement, or bitterness. Instead, Lord, I pray I will walk in gratitude, contentment, and faith, knowing You are who You say You are and that You will provide all I need as the Good Shepherd. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.