,In the immediate aftermath of the Red Sea crossing the frailties of Israel become evident. It is almost hard to imagine that shortly after this remarkable victory the people could grumble and complain. They “grumble against Moses” (Ex. 15:24 and 16:2). Then they refuse to listen to the Sabbath regulations. Then, they threaten to kill Moses when their thirst gets extreme and say the ultimate ungrateful remark, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt?” (Ex. 17:3) In spite of it all, God continues to graciously provide. He will need to straighten things out with some disciplinary action, but the overwhelming picture is one of God’s abundant and merciful provision for ungrateful and fickle people. Furthermore, even Moses begins to show cracks from the strain. Fortunately, he has friends to hold up his arms, and his father-in-law shows up with some good advice about delegating his responsibilities.
Reflect: It would be hard to imagine ungrateful attitudes developing so quickly if it were not part of our everyday human experience. In reality, we forget God’s blessings quickly and our hearts turn toward grumbling even shortly after God helps us out. Where do you need to confess a grumbling spirit and an ungrateful heart?
Connect: Paul continued to apply the lessons of the wilderness generation to the Church in Corinth, telling them specifically that these stories are meant to be an example to us. In particular, the example is that they were part of the community that experience great blessing, but they “desired evil” and “grumbled.” (Other sins that he mentioned come up later in Exodus.) The end point of his concern is that we should not allow the experience of God’s blessing to make us spiritually apathetic.
I Corinthians 10:3-12 [Our Fathers] all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.