The greatest joys and hopes are soon turned into the greatest griefs and fears with those that live by sense only, and not by faith. ~ Matthew Henry
“When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground! Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.” Exodus 15:19, 20 NLT.
Victory! The Lord had triumphed over the Egyptians by swallowing them up in the Red Sea. The Israelites had finally been delivered from captivity and they were now FREE. They recuperated a couple of days on the banks of the sea and then Moses began to lead:
“Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means ‘bitter’).
“Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’” Exodus 15:22-24
Three days. Three days from the time they left the Red Sea until they were complaining. Naturally they were thirsty. They would have likely traveled about 12-15 miles per day: not only did the people need water, but so did their livestock.
But hadn’t they just witnessed a supernatural miracle? Had they not just seen the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob part the mighty Red Sea and destroy the enemy when it seemed all hope was lost?
The Bible shares with us a total of 14 different times that the Israelites grumbled and complained. There were likely more than that in 40 years of wilderness wandering, but only 14 are recorded.
Check it out!
- Moses has caused Pharaoh to make their work more difficult. Exodus 5:1-22
- They complain that it was better in Egypt and ask to be left alone. Exodus 14:11-12
- They complain about the bitter water at Marah. Exodus 15:22
- They complain because they are hungry and are given Manna. Exodus 16:1-4
- They are thirsty again! Exodus 17:1-4
- They complain that Moses was on Mount Sinai too long and make themselves a golden calf to worship. Exodus 32:28
- Griping about the food again. Numbers 11:33
- Miriam and Aaron complain that they want to be in charge. Numbers 12:1-12
- They complain because it is just too hard. Numbers 14:1-10
- They want another leader…again. Numbers 14:10
- Korah leads a rebellion to replace Moses. Numbers 16
- They accuse Moses of causing the death of so many people. Numbers 16:41
- No water. (When will they ever learn?) Numbers 20:1-5
- They grow impatient with the journey. Numbers 21:4-5
Can we point our finger at the children of Israel when we imitate them so closely?
How many times do we doubt and worry, fret and wring our hands, wondering when and how the difficulties in our lives will work out?
We pray, but we don’t leave it there, we don’t trust and we don’t fully surrender our problems to the Lord.
Just as the children of Israel, we forget what God has done in the past and live only in the moment. If we don’t see the miracle directly in front of us, doubt creeps in, worry takes over and we find ourselves in Complaint Mode because we are walking by SIGHT, not by FAITH.
What can we do?
Remind yourself of His promises by staying in the Word. Remember that if God delivered you once He can do it again and again. If the very hairs on your head are numbered then nothing is impossible with God!
Begin your day in prayer, surrendering your will, your heart and your tongue to Him. Taking the time to communicate with the Creator of the world means everything when it comes to attitude. If we want to emulate Him, we have to spend time with Him. Did you know Jesus isn’t negative? If we strive to be like Him we can get rid of the negativity in our lives.
Fill your day with positive things. As the old adage says, “Garbage in, garbage out,” so what we put into our minds is what will flow back out. Think on these things whether it is the books you read, social media sites you visit, movies you watch, or music you listen to.
Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people bring you down and definitely rub off on you. If your circle of friends is known for their gossip, slander and negativity, then you will be known for that too! “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20 ESV.
So if you find yourself facing a situation that seems impossible, remember that you may not be able to control people or events, but you can control how you respond. Knowing that Jesus has made a way through the cross, that His name has been applied to your life, that you are a child of the King, increases your faith that He will be there the next time and the next. His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness!