Saturday, July 28, 2012

When God's Provision Is Not Enough

It is amazing how the complaining spirit spreads among us. We could take the most positive person we can find, stick them in a crowd of complaining people, and by the end of the day that wonderfully positive person would be a complainer.

Many of us do not think we complain against Jesus. We look at the Israelites coming out of Egypt and we can't believe what complainers they were. We think we would never complain against Jesus that way. Too bad there isn't a recording of some of the things we say so we can go back and listen to it. Just the fact there is so much personal debt in North America shows what complainers we are as we tell God, "What you provide isn't good enough. I have to go borrow money to get what I need". We look in the mirror and complain about how we look. We complain about a lack of friends. We complain about our job, our school, our teachers, our boss. In fact, what don't we complain about? And those complaints are against God, our provider and the director of our path.

You never thought of it that way, did you?

Imagine if there had been such a thing as credit cards in Moses day, as he and the Israelites followed God in the desert. Then again, they had all the gold and jewels of Egypt, so it wasn't a lack of money that was their problem. Instead it was a lack of restaurants, farms, fishermen. In fact, in the desert it was a lack of everything and the people complained. Perhaps their complaints were a little more legitimate than ours, a people who have the convenience of everything. All the Israelites wanted was some meat.

Moses got in on the act of complaining as well. He was complaining against the Israelites. They were wearing him down with all their complaints so Moses turned to God to complain. But complaining does a terrible thing in our relationship with God; it destroys our trust, hope and faith. As God told Moses that he was going to provide meat for the nation for a month, Moses stumbled.

After being part of all those plagues in Egypt, after walking through the divided sea on dry ground, after eating the manna al these days, after all he had experienced with God, Moses' reply seems a bit ordinary:

“Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” (Numbers 11:21-22)

God's response is one of mercy, grace and patience. It is a response we would do well to take note of as we fray God's nerves with all of our own complaining:

The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.  (Numbers 11:23)

Is God's arm too short for you? Is he too small to take care of you? Maybe he has gotten too old? Perhaps he has over extended himself? Maybe he is a God who changes his mind? Perhaps he is too inconsistent? Well, just so you know what kind of God has promised to take care of you, who promised to be with you always, who promised you peace and rest, who promised you his love, let me tell you what he did for Moses and the Israelites to give them the meat they complained about:

Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. (Numbers 11:31)

Yes indeed Moses, God will do exactly what he said. Yes my friend, he is faithful to his promises. He will do for you exactly what he has promised. Stop complaining and wait on the Lord. His arm is not too short. He does not lack the resources. He is all that he said he is. Now trust him. He loves you. He will take care of you. He is investing in you. He has called you. He will equip you. He does have a plan for you. Just listen and obey. He is saying to you, "You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you".

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