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. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!”
Numbers 11:1-4, NIV*
The people complained… the Israelites started wailing… Numbers 11:10 says every family was “wailing at the entrance to their tents.”
The people had hardships, real or perceived. But look at all the good things:
- God provided manna to eat
- God had rescued them from slavery
- He was leading them to the promised land
- He named them as His own people, and promised to protect them
- He made a covenant with them
- He gave them priests to make atonement for their sins
- He consented to “dwell” among them in the Tabernacle
- He spoke to them through His servant, Moses
- They were led by the Ark of the Covenant and the cloud of God
That’s a lot of good! What if they’d concentrated on the blessings instead of their hardships? What if they’d trusted God to do what He said?
Mighty and rescuing God, holy and faithful, forgive us for the times we concentrate on the negatives and complain. The Bible says we’re welcome to bring You our pain, because You are our refuge. But You don’t want us spreading dissension and discontent among our brothers and sisters. Open our eyes to the gifts You give. Help us not to take them for granted, and not to prefer our own ways. Create in us grateful hearts to worship and to wonder at all that You’re doing in our world.
Here’s a gratitude song I first heard live in concert, and I fell in love with it on the spot: Geoff Moore’s “Saying Grace.” This is a live recording, the sound isn’t great, but listen for the words… and watch the love on this Christian’s face as he sings his thanks.
For more on gratitude, consider joining Ann Voskamp’s gratitude community.