Expectations and Complaints

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea…. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter…. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Exodus 15: 22-24, NIV*

The Israelites were jubilant at what God had done: deliverance from Egyptian slavery, parting the Red Sea to rescue them (neatly eliminating their enemies). They believed He could fulfill the rest of His promise and bring them into the promised land.

After a string of miracles and evidences of His great power, it’s understandable that they’d expect Him to melt all remaining opposition and obstacles in their way.

Then right away they have three waterless days in the desert, only to find water they can’t drink. No wonder they complain!

Moses, on the other hand, is used to setbacks, from his dealings with Pharaoh. He cries out to God.

The people know God can help, but they don’t ask. They expect, and then protest when He doesn’t operate the way they want.

Don’t we do the same?

Father God, mighty to save and wise to teach, You could give us smooth paths. But we seem to learn better when we experience Your help in the rough places. Help us to trust Your leading and to listen, obey, and learn to do life Your way. Help us to be grateful for Your presence.

A good song and prayer for today is Matt and Beth Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name,” sung here by Matt Redman.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

6 thoughts on “Expectations and Complaints

  1. Margaret

    Janet,
    We don’t seem to change much…. We even have the example of how God felt about the Israelites complaining and how He reacted…. Still, we complain at every “set back” and forget to live lives of praise and thanksgiving…. Somewhere in God’s word that is called “unbelief”…..

    That is probably why Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, ‘Rejoice!'”…. Paul and Silas rejoiced while sitting in the stocks in prison….. Probably because He trusted and believed in the Lord’s love and righteousness in every situation.

    Thank you for this post.
    Margaret

    Reply
    1. janetsketchley

      Hi Margaret. We sure can’t point judgmental fingers at the Israelites, can we? We have the Holy Spirit and yet we fall so easily into the same patterns.

      I’ve been really challenged this week to return to gratitude–specifically gratitude to God.

      Reply
  2. Stephanie

    There was a time when I was left with two truths:

    1. Peter’s confession that there was nowhere else to go. (The 72 had left Jesus because of His “hard” teachings; the 12 remained.)

    2. I was to remember what God had done for me in the past: His age old challenge to His people in the desert.

    It was a low time in my life. However, in those moments, we know just what we believe…and what we think we believe.

    Reply
    1. janetsketchley

      Stephanie, I think we all have those low times. That “nowhere else to go” from Peter has been one I’ve come to a few times too.

      Remembering what He’s done before–if He never did anything else for us, how could we complain? But He will. And it makes such a difference to know that He’s the same God who’s touched our lives before.

      You’re right, there’s value in the low times. We may not see it at the moment though. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Ginny Jaques

    So blessed by this post, once again, Janet. And Stephanie, I love your two things to remember. Been there too, but I need to re-remember every time there is silence in heaven.

    Right now I’m in a class (just me and God, and people like you He uses to lecture now and then) on how to hear from God on a regular basis. In His Word, for sure, but also hearing specific answers whispered in my heart to specific questions I ask Him for guidance. It’s exciting. I love coming to recognize the still, small voice on a daily basis.

    Janet, I am always surprised by a slight sense of disappointment when I find your posts are book reviews. It’s because I’m so consistently blessed by your devotional insights that I unconsciously look forward to them when I open your blog.

    Thanks so much for being one of those women who say “yes” to God.

    Reply
    1. janetsketchley

      Ginny, your one-on-One class sounds wonderful! I suspect the more one listens, the more one hears, except for those silent times that are lessons in themselves.

      Sorry about the review letdown… I suppose I should have a separate blog for those but that would complicate my life even more.

      If it’s a Monday, it’s a review. Wednesday is devotional day, and Friday’s pot-luck.

      Reply

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