February 7, 2009

Grateful or Ungrateful for the Manna of God’s Provision?

Posted in Devotionals, Prayer Request at 10:50 pm by Sarah Bosse

During the last few weeks, during my devotional times with God, He continues reminding me of Israel in the wilderness.  God provided Israel with manna and meat from heaven.  It was just enough to feed them for that day, and in the heat of the day it would disappear or, if they stored it in their tents, it would breed worms and stink the next day (Exodus 16).  The Lord provided them with manna and meat because they complained and grumbled against Him, in ungratefulness (even though the Lord had brought them out of the land of Egypt – out of slavery!).  As if to add insult to injury, the people then cry against God, complaining that they desire water.  They are never satisfied, and apparently unwilling to take responsibility for themselves and work a little for their food.  They continue to travel the wilderness and after a while of, in Numbers 21:4-5, the Bible says “4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” ”  What they say is so backwards that if it didn’t displease and dishonor God and His great provisions for His people, I guess it would be funny.  “For there is no food and water” they say.  Oh, there isn’t?  They are still receiving manna and meat and water too!  But they contradict themselves because in the very next sentence they point out that this food – which doesn’t exist – is “loathsome” and “worthless”.  Those are certainly strong ways to speak against the Lord’s provision!  Guess they aren’t very hungry.  When you’re REALLY hungry, and you’ve not eaten for days, many things you wouldn’t normally touch with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole start looking and tasting pretty good – even green eggs and ham.  
My heart is deceitful, just like the hearts of the people of Israel, God’s nation in the Old Testament.  It’s so easy for me to forget that what the Lord has provided is indeed from His hand.  It is so easy to make other things my gods and to become discontent in my heart towards the Lord.  The Lord has not let me stay hungry or without shelter or without my basic life needs met – in fact, He has kept me quite comfortable as I have continued to search for jobs and to work temp and CAP work whenever I can.  But how quickly I turn and say, in my heart, “Lord, won’t you provide ______ (fill in the blank)?  I need it!”  In all likelihood, it’s not a desperate need; it’s a want.  Would having certain things make life more convenient?  Of course.  We all want things that we know would make daily tasks more convenient or easier.  But is it necessary for me to have this thing in order to 1) view God as holy, righteous, and sovereign; 2) be satisfied in God; 3) continue to live my life to bring God glory and praise Him through my daily activities and the meditations of my heart; and 4) continue to share the Gospel with others as a living example of what Christ has done for me?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then that thing has taken the place of God in my heart, and it needs to be sacrificed so that my joy will be complete in God.

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