November is quickly passing by, and many people are working hard to get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. I have been meal planning and trying to get things ready, but I must say I am more concerned about getting my heart and the hearts of my family ready for being thankful all year round.
This week in our study of Numbers with Good Morning Girls we read chapter 11. This same chapter came up front and center in my word study on Thanksgiving. When I read the chapter I wondered, what does this have to do with thanksgiving? Well after a bit more reading I realized it has everything to do with thanksgiving.
In Numbers chapter 11 we have two examples of the people of Israel grumbling to Moses. The first time was because living in the desert was hard. The second was because they got tired of the food they were being given miraculously by God.
I have to admit I can relate with both of these problem.
The Israelites were walking, in the desert, with all their stuff, all their animals and they had to break camp and set up camp frequently. This was a harsh desert with very little water. I can imagine I would find myself to be one of the first people to start complaining. The Israelites would be setting up camp after a day of walking, the women were trying to fix the manna into something the children would eat and something a little different than what they had eaten for the past several days. Feet are sore, children are tired and cranky. Husbands are probably off taking care of the animals. Someone starts the grumbling by saying how miserable it all is and it spreads like wildfire.
Just like the fire that God would send to burn the outskirts of the camp because his anger was kindled by their complaints.
A few verses on in the chapter the people begin to grumble again. Have your kids ever complained because they didn’t like what you were fixing for dinner? Can you imagine having to fix the same thing over and over and over again for how many weeks? The Israelites began to dream, and to crave the food they once had in abundance in Egypt. They craved it so much that they were weeping outside their tents. Weeping! That is some pretty intense craving! I have craved chocolate, but I have never been crying because I wanted some except maybe when I was a child and that memory has slipped my mind.
The grumbling got to Moses too and he essentially told God that he wanted to just die rather than deal with these grumpy people any more. Moses threw up his hands, and yelled at God. Moses essentially told God that He had made a mistake.
I wish I could sit back and say, “I never would behave like either of these people they are horrible!”
But the truth is I can’t say that. I complain. A LOT!
I am finding it shameful. Over the past week since I started this study on Thanksgiving I have been ashamed at how often I gripe or complain. I often find myself grumbling and down right dishonoring God by my words and speech. God isn’t pleased by my behavior. Not pleased one bit!
I don’t think God lashed out at the people because they expressed that they were suffering. I don’t think that God punished them because they said they wanted meat. I think that the issue was their heart and how they were handling their needs and God.
These Israelites, and me too, have a bad habit of seeing our difficult circumstances and assuming that God has made a mistake and that clearly we are enduring something that we should never have to endure. I begin to do exactly what the Israelites did. I feel sorry for myself. I believe that I deserve to be treated better than I am being treated and clearly God loves other people more than me because they aren’t going through what I am dealing with. Or I start thinking that maybe I am being punished because God is so mean and harsh, he really doesn’t love me enough to care for my needs, or so I believe. Now, if you ask me if I believe those things about God I would say, ‘Oh NO! Of course not!’ But I often live my life that way.
So what happened to the people of Israel? God did give them meat, but several of the people were killed because of their craving. In fact they named the place Kibroth Hattaavah—meaning the graves of the craving.
So what should the people have done? What would have been the proper response? We see some direction in a conversation between Moses and God.
We see in verses 18-23 that even Moses was allowing the grumbling of the people lead him down a path of distrust of who God is and what he is capable of doing.
The people didn’t ask God for meat. The People had forgotten what God could do for them. The people, as well as Moses had begun to lose trust in who God is.
They whined, grumped and demanded meat. Going so far as saying they never should have left Egypt. They had lost sight of who God is.
I do that so often. I get stuck in the daily grind of laundry, dishes, diapers, discipline, homeschooling and all that goes into being a mom that I forget to look up.
I forget that I need food for my soul.
I forget that praise, thanksgiving and worship are the bridges to fellowship with God.
I forget that God wants fellowship with me.
I allow fellowship to be broken because I become discontented and full of bitterness. You see there is a direct connection we are seeing.
In the passage on Leviticus that we discussed last time [More more information see Thankfulness part 2.] We saw that God was teaching the people of Israel that through confession of sin, and worship, thanksgiving and praise we are able to have fellowship with God. Yet that fellowship can be broken by sin. Sin can sneak in easily by allowing ourselves to dwell on our own needs and grumbling over them which leads to discontentment and bitterness. We find ourselves filled with anger, and grumbling because we are worshiping our cravings rather than worshiping God.
If we would take our eyes off ourselves and give thanks to God for who he is and what he has done it will feed our souls and restore our fellowship with Him.
Thankfulness is a bridge to fellowship and communion with God.
Complaining is a bridge to bitterness and isolation from God.
I encourage you to take some time this week and remember what God has done in your life and praise him for his mighty work. Then after you have spent time thanking God and remember what he has done, tell him what you need. God wants to be in relationship with us.
Ten Things I am Thankful For:
1. God has given me a hard working husband who sacrifices a lot to care for me and my kids.
2. God has provided for EVERY need our family has had.
3. God has given me Five children I never dreamed I would be able to have.
4. God has shined sunshine in through my kitchen windows this afternoon in the most beautiful way.
5. God provided my husband with a different job.
6. God has surrounded our family with community and loving people who speak truth to us.
7. God has given me the ability to read books for free and write this blog.
8. God has colored the leaves of the trees in my yard more beautifully than any artist ever could.
9. God has allowed me to home-school my children.
10. God allowed me to mop my floor this morning (I have been barely able to walk for almost a week due to a back problem.)
This Post is part of Good Morning Girls Blogging Through the Bible Series. For more information and free resources please click the button below.