Around 2013 I decided to really get serious about Bible reading. For some of you reading this you may have just blurted out loud….
“But you’re a Christian Joc, you’re supposed to take the bible seriously and read it!” You were probably also sporting one of these faces…..
— and what you may (or may not have) just blurted out is a valid response; yet the sad truth is, as society becomes more corrupt, the days become more hectic, and people become more comfortable with seeking selfish pleasures to “get away from it all” — SERIOUS bible reading (reading to actually understand it and apply it to real life) often takes a back seat….if it doesn’t end up getting thrown into the trunk out the gate.
Back to 2013…..
I decided if I was going to understand the story of the world and all that jazz, I needed to start from page one and read a little each day. I was able to successfully do this until I got to the book of Ezra, when I found myself getting a little off track. Life circumstances and changes caused me to lose focus and skip all the way into the New Testament. Well now it’s 2017 and I’ve decided to start back at the beginning and uncover what I missed before. Today, I was reading Numbers chapter 11 and I was hit with a spiritual revelation!
Up until now (Genesis-Numbers), the ancient Israelites were oppressed in brutal slavery for 400 years, miraculously freed from Egypt, graciously given food from Heaven, and yet reeked of ungratefulness! Here’s what I read:
1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the Lord had burned among them.
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
That sounds like a lot of us, doesn’t it?! We literally beg God to give us a miracle, then when He performs it, we get bored or tired of it, then want something bigger and better — totally ungrateful for the blessing we literally JUST received!
When the ancient Israelites first stepped out Egypt they were complaining, but when God delivered them via the Red Sea they changed their tune. They were glad to be out of slavery….until a little time passed and they got hungry. They went to Moses so he could ask God to send them food — BOOM — God drops manna from heaven and brings on a horde of quail for them to eat. They’re happy again….until they reach Mount Sinai and get bored again. They TOTALLY disregard the Living God Who LITERALLY just performed miracles out of nowhere and began making an idol to worship like they were back in Egypt. FACEPALM!!! Over and over they find themselves running on the hamster wheel of being grateful-ungrateful-satisfied-not satisfied …… it’s no wonder they stayed in the wilderness so long…. how could God trust the first generation Israelites with the Promise Land if they couldn’t even be satisfied with the starter blessings God had already showered them with!?!
Take a moment to think about everything in your life. Your job. Your home. Your mode of transportation. Your health. Your finances. Your love life. Your family.
Are you praying for and expecting God to give you more, but still missing the fact that you’re a smidge ungrateful for what you already have?
Take this lady I know:
She graduated from college between 2008 -2010 when the economy was plummeting and there were literally no good paying jobs available. She didn’t know how she was going to pay her loans, let alone survive. She didn’t know how she was going to afford rent, food, gas — ANYTHING! She prayed for a job and in less than 2 months was called by an old employer from high school asking if she needed a job. Sure she had to move back home and stay with her parents…sure she had no desire to work in the field she formally worked in…sure her paycheck was small and she was technically living below the poverty level — but she had a job, no rent payment, and enough to cover her bills. She was grateful! NOW fast forward 5 years later and she’s still working the same job. Though she filled out what seemed like a billion applications, she wasn’t able to find a job paying more money, or a position in the field she wanted to work in. She was MISERABLE! She was barely getting by juggling paying her bills and trying to maintain some sort of social life. She slowly became discontent, overly stressed, and despised the very thing she asked God for — her job!
In her eyes, her job was holding her back from the life she was truly destined to live. It hurt her to wake up every day, racking her brain on why it seemed career opportunities were passing her by, while the cost of living was going up! I’m happy to report that now, while it’s still a struggle, she’s more content with the blessings of having her basic needs taken care of and she hasn’t given up on her dreams. She’s just a little more thankful.
That woman developed the attitude of an Ancient Israelite and didn’t even realize it. I’m not God but I would dare say God hasn’t blessed her with anything more YET because it’s not the right time (He’s got something grand marinating behind the scenes) AND because her posture towards the blessings she’s already afforded still isn’t quite right. Like the Ancient Israelites, it’s quite possible that God is not giving her ALL of the blessings she could be getting because her attitude isn’t ready for it. Let’s say He was to give her the job of her dreams now, she’d probably tire of that too and start complaining about how much work it is or about how it’s not like her old job! I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly a thought.
Take some time (as mentioned above) to reflect on your life and pray about it. Ask God to reveal any way you’re being ungrateful. Take time to thank Him for what He’s given you. Even if you don’t have as much money as you’d like, travel as much as you’d like, have the relationship or marriage that you’d like — you’re still blessed and God will supply ALL of your needs! Just continue to be thankful!