Getting Tired of Manna?
After the Lord delivered the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, they began to grumble to Moses and Aaron about food. It wasn’t just a select few. Exodus 16:2 tells us that the whole congregation grumbled. Instead of trusting that God would provide for them, they complained about missing the meat and bread that they had while they were back in Egypt. As we know, God provided bread from heaven (Manna) every morning. It was better than the bread that they craved from Egypt, and God delivered it to them. All they had to do was walk out and pick it up off the ground.
Numbers 11 tells us that they soon began grumbling about eating manna every day and cried out to Moses to give them meat. God provided meat for them and God told Moses that they will get it for an entire month until they got sick and tired of eating it.
In both of these cases, God tested the people of Israel to see if they would follow his instructions and obey him. He gave them specific instructions on how much manna they were to collect, when to collect it, and how to collect on the day before the sabbath. There were always people who disobeyed or ignored what God had instructed and there were significant consequences.
While they were grumbling among themselves and complained to Moses and Aaron, Moses pointed out to them that their grumbling was not against them, but actually against the Lord. While God heard their grumbling and provided for them, there were still consequences for their actions. In the account we find in Numbers 11, when God heard their complaints, His anger was kindled and fire came down from heaven and consumed some of the outlying parts of the camp. People lost their lives for their complaining.
Many of us are tired of the pandemic that has impacted our lives in many ways. Are we beginning to complain about the situation that we are in? Do we realized that God is in the middle of all of this? In fact, we find in Isaiah 45:7 God reminds us that He is the One and Only God. He said, “I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord who does all these things." The point He is making is that He is sovereign in all things and nothing happens without His knowledge, approval, and in many cases, His actual doing. If we begin grumbling about the situation that we are in, how different are we from the Israelites in the wilderness? Our grumbling and complaining, regardless of who we are sharing them with or whether or not we are voicing them to others or keeping them in our hearts, can be conveying the same message that we are not accepting of the situation that God has put us in. I know this may seem hard to hear and know that for many, this pandemic is very hard to live with, some more so than others. The main thing we need to remember is that God can remove it or make it more difficult as He chooses. I try to seek out what God is trying to teach me in all of this. Maybe I get too comfortable or perhaps fall into a rut on how I do things. The church is used to doing things a certain way and maybe He is teaching us new ways to worship, new ways to live, and even new ways to love each other. Since the pandemic started months ago, we have done our worship services in many different ways as we adjust and adapt to changing guidelines. We need to concern ourselves more with what’s in our hearts as we worship, more than the methods of how we do worship.
The church has always gone through changes, but it has always thrived when it sought to honor God. While we may be looking forward to going back to the way we did worship before the pandemic began, God may be taking us in a direction that doesn’t go that way. It’s never easy, trying to determine exactly what our next step is, but if we’re going in a direction with God in front of us, that is the right direction, as difficult as it may seem. I recently saw a quote that said something about smooth seas don’t make great mariners. In the same way, following Christ is not always the smoothest path…but it is the best one. May God continue to draw us to Himself, and may we strive to seek Him out, regardless of what is put between us and Him.