Should I Complain or Say Thank You?

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2

I’ve been studying the story of Exodus and have been struck by how quickly the Israelites forget what God has brought them through and how he has provided for them. Immediately after being released from hundreds of years in slavery, and after God parted the Red Sea for them, Exodus recounts tale after tale of how the Israelites grumbled and complained and did not trust God to provide for their most basic needs. The first instance after crossing the Red Sea was when they arrived at the waters or Marrah but the water was too bitter to drink. God made the water drinkable. The next complaint was that they were hungry and they argued that they would be better off under the slavery of the Egyptians where at least they had food. This time God provided Quail and bread (mannah) from Heaven. They moved on from there and argued AGAIN to Moses that there was no water. This time, exhausted, Moses cried out to God “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me” (Exodus 17:4). 

Yet again, despite their almost revolt against Moses, God in his mercy and faithfulness showed his provision for the people of Israel and provided water from the rock despite their continued lack of trust in God’s ability to provide. 

It’s easy to look at these stories and compare the Israelites to little children, who despite their parents’ best efforts to provide for them, are left unsatisfied or distrusting of their parents’ ultimate love and provision. Grumbling and complaining are pretty common in our household, especially around dinner time! The real comparison however, should be our own lack of trust in God, and how quickly we as adults can forget the bondage he has released us from, and the Red Seas he has brought us through. 

God tells the Israelites to make a record of all he has done for them, and to record these stories to be passed down from generation to generation. Throughout the Old Testament, God is revealing who He is to the Israelites, a trust-worthy, powerful, patient, and Holy God, worthy of our devotion and praise. What are the stories that we have personally experienced that ultimately reveal who God is to us? What are the Red Seas that He has walked us through or our families through? What about as a church? How easy it is to forget the ways that God has provided for us, and instead grumble and complain about our current situation. Remind yourself this week how God has provided for you, your family, and our community here at Restore. Tell your children these stories of God’s faithfulness. Pray for a heart that doesn’t grumble and complain, but trusts that God knows what we need, and will provide it in His time.