Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I Don't Think I'm an American

I must be an Israelite!

As I have mentioned previously, I am reading through the Bible. I have done this before and, while I knew God would speak to me through His Word, I had forgotten that He tends to cause me to question my nationality when I'm reading through the book of Numbers.

Saturday morning I read this from chapter 14:

1 That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?"
Which reminded me of a few weeks ago when I read this from chapter 16 of Exodus:
2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 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."
I wanted to get in the faces of those complaining Israelites and talk some sense into them! Life was hard in Egypt, they cried out to God, and He delivered them. Wandering through the dessert was hard, but God was faithful. Still the Israelites complained and wished they could go back to Egypt, where things must not have been as bad as they'd thought.
Then, when God gave the people a glimpse of the Promised Land, most of the explorers gave a bad report and the people started grumbling again.
I couldn't believe what I was reading. Did they really say they wished they had died in the dessert? Because in Exodus they were complaining about that very prospect.
I wondered, What is up with these people???
Granted, I have the advantage of knowing the end of the story. I know how God ultimately delivered the Israelites to the Promised Land.
But, c'mon!
Those men and women had seen God's faithfulness up close and personally. They had eaten the manna and the quail. They drank water from a rock. They saw the pillar of cloud which led them by day and the pillar of fire at night.
How could they doubt the LORD their God now?
How could they complain about what He was doing???

And there - in the midst of my Israelite rebuke - I realized I might be one of them.

God, I don't think I can handle having a teenager! Life was so much easier when my kids were in elementary school, when homework was simpler.
BUT, at that time I was crying words like, Oh, God! These childish attitudes are driving me crazy! What happened to my sweet little pre-schoolers?
And before that? God, I cannot handle another temper tantrum over broken crayons and taking turns. Why do these children need to fuss about bath time? Why can't they just eat, sleep, and be happy like they were when they were babies?
Of course, it all started with, God, I am so tired. I don't know why this baby keeps crying. I just want some sleep! Please, make this child sleep soundly tonight.

Do you see the resemblance between me and the Israelites?
Yeah. I think I might be one.
Are you?

It is so easy to see the struggle in the moment, to fear the future - and to forget God's faithfulness in the past.

Father, You are perfectly faithful. Always! We can trust You. For everything!
Yet sometimes we forget. Please forgive us when we fix our eyes on the struggle, instead of on You. Please help us to be faith-full. Draw us into Your arms, and lead us to lean on You.



Jerralea said...

Great post! I used to get impatient with the Israelites, too, always falling back into sin. Until one day, I realized that I have areas I keep messing up in, too!

That is why reading the bible is like looking into a mirror, it shows us ourselves.

Wendy said...

I'm in Leviticus right now, and came to the same conclusion! How easily we forget God's goodness to us, and still He is faithful to remind us. :)

LisaShaw said...

Oh Karen, this is rich! We have all been like the Israelite s if we're honest.

I've often asked the LORD not to allow me with my moments of being thick-headed, to miss HIM and do another 40 years around in the wilderness!!! You know what I mean?

Love your heart for HIS WORD!

gianna said...

I want to die in a dessert, too! (I'm teasing you, but really dying in a chocolate pie or a bowl of ice cream? What could be better? Heaven on earth into Heaven for real? That's my way to go!)

Irritable Mother said...

Jerri - A mirror, yes. And I pray one day my reflection will look a lot more like Jesus!

Wendy - His goodness and faithfulness far outweighs my forgetfulness. And I am so thankful.

Lisa - Yes. I do! I keep seeing these things the Israelites did and I pray - LORD, please don't let me be like them. I don't want to grumble against You!

Gianna - Death By Chocolate, right? I think I've eaten that before. *wink*

Sara K. said...

Oh... I can SO relate. Very good post, Karen -- very encouraging!

Nicky said...

Thanks for such an interesting/full of humour post.. I agree with you, at times it is so hard not to grumble...God bless

Irritable Mother said...

Sara - Thank you. It was a little longer than I like to make my posts, but I just didn't think I could cut anything without losing something. So glad you liked it!

Nicky - You're welcome.
Yes, grumbling comes quite naturally, doesn't it? Oh! I don't want to be a grumble-er!