Exodus 16:2-3 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
I find this situation, described by today’s verses, to be a serious warning of how our perception of true reality can be negated by fear. Here are a people that have been slaves in Egypt all their lives. They had been in misery, crying out to the Lord for deliverance. Then God responded! Through Moses incredible miracles were performed – witnessed by them all – that resulted in their freedom.
Capping everything off was the Red Sea experience that occurred just a short time earlier. When they saw the Egyptian army approaching they had this same negative response. They complained that it was better to be slaves in Egypt than die in the desert. The understanding that God was setting them free and dealing with Pharaoh and the Egyptians was lost amidst their fears.
Then they witnessed God’s stunning intervention to secure their freedom. The angel of the Lord kept the army at bay over night while the Red Sea parted. They experienced walking through the parted waters and then witnessed the waters consuming the pursuing army upon Moses’ command. Great was their celebration of this event.
Then three days later, when they ran out of water, they complained and witnessed the miracle of the bitter water becoming sweet. Unfortunately, this next difficult situation (of today’s verses) brought about an even worse negative response. All they had witnessed was once again forgotten! They hadn’t been set free; God wasn’t with them; they were all victims about to die; their situation in Egypt was desirable. They even found it preferable for God to have killed them in Egypt than for them to starve to death in the desert.
If only they had recognized their true situation and responded with, “The Lord didn’t set us free to kill us in the desert. Let us call upon the Lord and He will provide.” The Lord provided them with test after test; giving them repeated opportunities to respond with faith rather than unbelief.
We must recognize that God does the same with us; He allows test after test in our lives affording us the opportunity to respond with faith. How are we going to respond to the difficult situations we face? Do we see ourselves as potential victims of circumstances or are our perceptions faith-based and trusting in God?
To be continued…