Daily Readings and Thought for February 7th. “AND THE PEOPLE GRUMBLED”
Human beings seem to be by nature very fickle in supporting others. This may be more evident now because there is a fascination about constantly taking public opinion polls – at least this is so in our part of the world: these show the fleeting nature of human support, people are very ready to grumble. So many want almost instant solutions to any problem – and as problems increase, this grumbling attitude is constantly in evidence.
Our thoughts were prompted to run along these lines after reading about the final dramatic deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. The waters parted for them, then they saw the total destruction of the Egyptian forces.
How wonderful, the people must have thought, is the power of our God, especially after being spared the effects of most of the plagues. How astonishing to then read, “Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days into the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter … And the people grumbled against Moses …” [Exodus 15 v.22-25] After all the wonders of their recent experiences of the power of their God, why did they not turn to Moses asking – and expecting – that this mighty God would provide! The water is healed and becomes sweet and then the comment is made, “There the LORD … tested them” It is most instructive to us to look at the references in Scripture that use words to test, to prove, etc. God does wondrous things and then tests those who witness them and receive his blessings – to see if they have developed real faith. We recall how often Jesus tested his disciples in this way.
David in his Psalms expresses this on several occasions, it sustained him in his times hiding in the wilderness far more than it did the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings. “The LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of men. The LORD tests the righteous …” [Psa. 11 v.4,5] Jeremiah 17 v.10 is a powerful quotation! We must aim to develop a real relationship with our Lord and really “know” the truth of these words.