So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?”
The Israelites got across the Red Sea, had a great worship service, even saw bitter waters made sweet; undrinkable water made drinkable and they complain. They complain that Moses and Aaron brought them out of Egypt to kill them in the wilderness. They complained that they were hungry and acted as though they had never gone hungry while they were in bondage in Egypt. Moses rightly points out that the Israelites are not actually grumbling against him — it was not Moses that performed miracles and brought plagues and killed the firstborn of Egypt — but against God.
There are a few things that jump out at me in this passage.
First, the Israelites needed to be reminded that it was the LORD [Who] brought [them] out of the land of Egypt. Sometimes, I need to be reminded that it is God Who has delivered me and from what He has delivered me. The Israelites were romanticizing the past, talking about meat pots and bread until they were full. I have never once read an account of slavery wherein the slaves were fed meat and bread and never went hungry. On the contrary, every account of slavery I have ever read has included accounts of privation. It has been said that “The Good Old Days” are a combination of a good imagination and a bad memory. There is truth in that. I sometimes find myself thinking of times gone by and waxing nostalgic. But those times were not as universally pleasant as I imagine them to be and the hardships of the moment are no heavier or lighter than those that have gone before.
Second, the needed to see the glory of the LORD. Sometimes, in addition to needing to be reminded that God delivered me and from what, I also need to see His glory; His power displayed in my life and on my behalf. The Israelites had a legitimate need: food. But grumbling was not going to fill their bellies. Only food would do that. And God had every intention of providing food for them. They needed to see the manna from Heaven and know that God was not only willing to meet their needs, but able. I, likewise, sometimes need to be shown that God is not only willing but able to meet the needs in my life. Not in every circumstance, certainly, but in some.
Third, my grumbling is almost never against people. I need to be reminded that I need to not complain for He hears [my] grumblings against the LORD. God knows that I am unhappy; displeased with the way things are going. My complaints do not help the situation, On the contrary, my complaints make me less happy, cast aspersions on God’s character, and drive others away or draw them into my bitterness with me — none of which is profitable.
I need to remember that God is the One Who leads me and guides every step of my life. If times are hard, it is because God has brought me to this place for a reason. It may be that He wants me to see His glory or that He wants me to do all things without grumbling or both or for some other reason not outlined in this passage (but elsewhere). Whatever His reasons, I need to trust in the Goodness of God and in His Faithfulness to me. He has shown Himself willing and able to meet my needs and to accomplish what concerns me. Let me not be found grumbling against Him, but waiting patiently for Him to provide whatever need I might have.
Father, thank You for this reminder that it is You Who leads me and You Whose glory I will see and You against Whom I grumble. Change my heart so that I do not grumble, but wait patiently for You to show me Your glory and provide my needs.