Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, July 4

Exodus 16:1-36 

Here begins what we will observe to be a common issue, which is the first of many struggles between Moses, God and the people.  I am not in any way qualified to appreciate the hardship that the Hebrews must have endured on their journey.  God did not immediately and supernaturally whisk them away into the promised land.  They were to travel through the desert, enduring hostility and suffering cold, heat, hunger. thirst and - yes - "traffic."  I hate traffic.  This was human traffic.

You had to constantly deal with animals, screaming kids and "slow" wagons in front of you.  I can't even deal with the parkway traffic in my air-conditioned car!

We are told that the people "grumbled" against the Lord.  Paul says, "Do all things without grumbling."  Of course, we have a right to complain over unjust circumstances.

Here's the thing: Their grumbling was that many wished that they were back in Egypt!  You have got to be kidding me.  No.  Now not all said this to be sure, but many did.  Wow!  What an insult to God! It's like being saved by Christ from sin and death and then, when trials come on account of your faith, saying, "I wish I were back to being a pagan."

No question, hunger can affect the mind and spirit.  Don't shoot someone down when he is starving.  But then again, "You don't know what's in a tube until it's squeezed."

When things got tough, many sadly showed that they were in it not for the long haul, but signed on simply for the good times of blessing and deliverance.

Alex McGrath's wonderful book "The Journey" is well worth reading in this context, for he speaks of the Christian's life as a faith journey to the promised land of God.  Part of that journey is struggling with hardship.  No one likes it.

We want God to make our journey as simple and as easy as possible with constant assurance and provision.  But there are times when life is not like that.

God is merciful in this story.  Rather than feeling insulted and calling off the whole Exodus thing in disgust, He fed them.  Jesus did this.  He fed 5000 hungry people out of compassion, knowing fully that when they ate their fill and when He would begin teaching them that they would all leave because they didn't care for what He had to say.  Still, He fed them.  Ingratitude and complaining seems to be our common lot.

Adam and Eve never thanked God for the garden.  Instead, they seemed to say, "Hey God!  What's up with the tree we're not allowed to eat from?"

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