Wednesday, July 21
Exodus 16: 1-5, 9-15
This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:15)
What a shame! Not even three months have gone by since God miraculously freed them from slavery, and the Israelites are complaining about everything they don’t have. How could they so quickly forget God’s protection and all the miraculous events that had brought them to freedom?
Before we judge the Israelites too harshly, though, we should remember that their situation was scary. They were in the desert with little to eat and drink. At least when they were slaves, they knew they weren’t going to starve!
Yes, they could have shown more gratitude, but God could see what was really going on. Beneath their complaining was a very real fear for their lives and their safety. And so God had sympathy on them and responded with compassion.
Contrary to what we might expect, God didn’t punish them for complaining. He did just the opposite. He answered their fears by providing them with “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4). He even came down and appeared to the Israelites in the form of a mysterious cloud as if to provide them with extra assurance that he truly cared about them (16:10).
God doesn’t punish us for complaining either. He sees the fear that often lurks in the background. For instance, if you complain that your adult children don’t seem attentive to your needs, it may be because you fear that you’ll be left alone in your old age. Or if you complain about being stuck in your job, it may be because you fear that you won’t earn enough money to support your family.
Struggles like these can make us feel as if we are wandering in a lifeless desert with no hope of rescue. But even in tough times, when fear is strong and anxiety seems to have an iron grip on us, God wants to comfort us and bring us His peace. He doesn’t want to encourage our complaints – but if they come His way, He can handle them. He understands. He can calm the fears behind the grumbling and help us to entrust our lives – and even our fears – to Him.
“Thank you, Father, for Your patience and compassion when I am fearful.”
Matthew 13: 1-9
Daily Reflections from “The Word Among Us”
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No ownership is implied
Come, Now is the Time to Worship – Oslo Gospel Choir
Chi Ci Separerà – Marco Frisina
Testify to Love – Wynonna Judd