LIFE AND LOVE : grumbling and complaining or grace-filled gratitude

my little green chair, perfectly accompanied by tiny toys

My relationship with the Lord right now is hot and heavy. Daily I wake up hit with the reality of my sin, with the greater reality of His salvation. I am desperate for His Word yet sometimes feel too tired to get up to read it. At least weekly I am convicted of something major in my life, a besetting sin, a wayward attitude, a passive fleshly stance. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so – and because He will NOT leave me alone.

And for this I am totally grateful.

This morning was just like any other. I get up, get in the Word as Leland is playing on the floor.
The way I have been doing my quiet time recently looks something like this –

After breakfast, I make myself a latte and plop myself down in one of our green velvet mini club chairs from the 60s. Little love crawls around on the floor, playing. I read aloud the Scripture and the devotional on the passage. Many times little man just loves it. And today all of this was no exception.
But the minute I started reading the Scripture – Exodus 16 – I knew the Lord was there with me. He was talking to ME, plain as day.

Exodus 16 records the account of the Israelites grumbling and complaining to Moses and Aaron. The Lord has just led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness with a cloud by day and fire by night. And as if this were not enough to secure their full faith in the Lord, as their food supplies run low, they even complain (and outloud too!!)

And the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
(Exodus 16:3 ESV)

I mean, bless their hearts. Had they not seen enough to know that the Lord would take care of them?! Did they all REALLY want to go back to slavery in Egypt. Come on.
Yet that is what they were saying – as a whole congregation – to their leaders.

So we see the people of Israel did not turn to God, they did not remember who their Provider and Salvation is, and they are just sitting in a muck, complaining.

Moses and Aaron respond

And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble against us?
(Exodus 16:7 ESV)

Again I mean COME ON. At least in this situation the leaders have it right. What do the people think that Moses and Aaron can do!? And yep, it’s true, they were verbally directing their complaint against people, but in their hearts, their grief was with the Lord.

Oh my. So there I was, reading so nicely out loud the Word of God to my son – and it seems so perfect, right? – what a good mom, you might think. Or doesn’t she just seem to have it all together.

Now it’s time to say to me “Bless your heart.” For there I was, remembering just the other day – probably not even 48 hours ago – when I was telling the Lord that I felt strapped, money-wise. And I just knew in times past that He has provided but how in the world was He gonna provide this time? I couldn’t see it. I just didn’t know.

Well that feeling of strapped = doubt.
And my thoughts of lack of provision I directed toward Tyler, well they were really directed against the Lord.
(And of course, just like Moses and Aaron were doing a good job, so is Tyler)

And as I type this, I am just so ashamed. And in one voice I want to beg you not to think harshly against me. And in another I want to ask you to just put me out of my misery now.

Thankfully the Lord has made another way. Just like He did with the Israelites.

Exodus 16:4 reads,

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you,…

I just want to laugh. That sort of laugh when you know you have been caught in the act. Shamed by your self and at the same time so glad for the relief that the person who has found you out has provided.

The Lord already had a plan. HE IS THE PROVIDER. It didn’t matter if the people were complaining; He knew they were hungry and He wanted the best for them, so He provided.

And he provides “more than we can ever ask for or imagine or hope.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Right when you were stuck, He already has His plan. Before you were floundering around like a fish out of water, worrying every which way. His plan is in action now. He has saved the world, conquered death, and He is coming back in victory!

And He does all of this so that “you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” (v 12)

Sometimes don’t we stupidly retort, “Oh Lord, I know you are God. But where the heck are you!?”

Bless bless bless bless bless.

He is right there, girlfriend. He never even left you. He says that He is ever-present and He will actively never leave you or forsake you. And not only that, Jesus loves you so very much.

Right when we are at our worst, running out, running on empty, stuck in our little car and can’t go anywhere, He is with us. Might to save. We only need to be still.

And it’s so cute of the Israelites because once the Lord provides and commands them to gather enough only for the day, some of them try to gather a little more. Try to save. Which is just like us, too. The Lord blesses us and we try to provide for ourselves, just in case. A rainy day fund, maybe. It does seem so innocent but relying in ourselves and our own efforts makes whatever provision the Lord gave turn wormy and stinky. And that’s just what happened to the Israelites’ saved manna.

The Lord said that He would daily provide their bread. He wanted to them to depend on Him, the good Provider, not on their own efforts.

He wants this all the more for you and for me, ultimately in our salvation. His Word tells us that is by grace through faith that we are saved. And that is true for our process of being saved too. It is not works that provides our approval before the Lord. It is Jesus CHrist, our salvation. He gives it to us today. He gives to us forever, praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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