Today’s Devotion: Numbers 21
Do you remember the game of revenge, Sorry? It was fun to play the game, but things look much different in the “game of life” or to those wandering in the desert. As I read Numbers 21, I couldn’t help being frustrated for God because of the way the Israelites were behaving, again! Whining, complaining, ungrateful and discontent. In verse 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Seeing the whole story unveiled in the context of the entire bible makes me wonder how they could be so short-sighted. God has given them every provision they have needed and this is the eighth time they act out against God. Then my own conviction sets in. I complain about a seam in my shoe that rubs and gives me a blister (but I have shoes on my feet), I complain that I didn’t sleep well last night (but I have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head), or the bad day I have had at work (but I have a job.) Makes me slouch a little lower in my seat as I continue to read.
How about you? Can you name a few things to complain about? Sadly, we all can. Therefore, God gets mad at them and rightfully so! He sends venomous snakes to bite the Israelities and of course they repent… again! Wouldn’t you? I’m not sure what venomous snakes God sends my way for my lack of gratitude, but I know He allows things to come into our lives like difficult people, temptations, challenges, illness, accidents, storms, and even death of people we weren’t ready to let go. Why? To teach us, humble us, remind us or correct us.
So as much as I could feel sorry for the Israelities in their own ignorance, I feel sorry for God for how many times He has to put up with them (and us) for how easy it is for us to neglect to see His provisions, blessings and gifts.
I appreciate God’s reminder to us today to stop complaining. We just celebrated the birth of His Son Jesus, there are so many reasons to be grateful. Let’s not take that, or anything for granted today. Perhaps our verse for 2014 should be Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Then again, why wait! Let’s start today!