“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”Exodus 15:22-24
We live in a country that is plenteous, and it is an extremely unusual thing if we go even one day without food. If our cupboards at home are empty, then we can go the store (which is filled to abundance) and stock up on items that are needed. We have church on Sundays and Wednesdays and even have Bible studies throughout the week as well. Most of us have more than one Bible in our household and we can download an app that has the Bible in several versions and languages. We are truly blessed with many good things, but it sadly does not take much for us to find a reason to complain and murmur against our God.
One year, we took the kids to Disneyland for my birthday, and I could not think of a better place to celebrate. We were having a great week and I was excited for what I consider my personal holiday. What could go possibly wrong at the happiest place on earth? Well, for whatever reason, I thought Rebekah should have planned a special birthday dinner for me somewhere, so I asked where we were going. She looked at me puzzled as she had not made any special plans.
I got mad and began to fight with her over her lack of planning. Looking back, I know this seems as foolish as it was. After all, who cares where you eat for dinner when you are having a blast all day? Well, I guess I cared as I made a big deal of it and did my best to ruin the day for my whole family. Rebekah felt bad, but more than that, I had awakened the hibernating bear. She was now angry with me, and thought my expectations were unreasonable. The thought of this infuriated me even more as I felt I deserved a special dinner for such a special occasion as my birthday. I think I am the only one who can make their own birthday miserable at the happiest place on earth.
I look back on that event, and wish I could change how I acted that day. I wish I could have been grateful to be with my family, and I wish I would have enjoyed the day instead of finding fault in it. I think of the children of Israel and how God had parted the Red Sea for them, and soundly defeated their enemy. They sang out to Him with praises and thanksgiving, but only three days later, their praises turned to complaining. They grew angry with Moses and murmured against Him because there was no water to drink. I guess they didn’t think the great God who parted the Red Sea was able to also provide water for them in the wilderness.
We can look down on the children of Israel, but we are no different. It takes us only three seconds to go from praising to complaining. We forget we have a God who knows our needs and desires that we ask Him to provide. Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” What will be your choice today? Will you cry out to God or will you cry out against Him? Will you make yourself and others miserable instead of looking at all the things God has already provided and continues to provide for you? May our hearts praise our God and may we be careful to remember all that He has provided. Murmur or praise – you decide.