Three Days In

My thoughts for Monday School are on Thanksgiving. I expected to write about one of the many verses on thankfulness but when I read this story I knew this had to be in Monday School.

I like to think of myself as a grateful person, but I realize I’m more like the people in the story than I want to be.

Three days.

That’s how long the people of Israel traveled before they complained.

The first part of Numbers is about censuses, assignments of duties, march formations and camp set up. But by the end of chapter 10, the people of Israel are on the move. Verses 33 & 34 say, “So they set out from the mountain………..the cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.”

After almost a full year at Mount Sinai the people of Israel began their journey to the Promised Land. Three days in “and the people complained….” But the complaining turned into something worse.

“The rabble with them began to crave other food and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat. We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost-also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetites; we never see anything but this manna!”   Numbers 11:4-6

The people did the same thing three days into the trek from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai. (Exodus 15) They complained about water. After they saw the Red Sea parted and walked to the other side on dry land…….they complained about water. This time they grumbled about food. The bread of heaven had ceased to satisfy. It wasn’t good enough. And with each complaint the people romanticized their time in Egypt.

We do the same. We may not say it out loud but we grumble in our hearts. The business we prayed for finally happens and as soon as it’s more challenging than expected we dream of the easy days before it started. The promotion we wanted demands more conflict resolution skills than we care for and we want to give up. We pray for good friends but distance ourselves when the relationships requires more give than take.

Like the people of Israel, we want the Promised Land but not the difficult journey. We want the privileges without the responsibility, the transformation without the work, the patience without the perseverance, and the faith without the fight. We want all the good stuff without any of the hard stuff.

Like the people of Israel, we forget. We forget the miracles, the healing, and the promises kept. And we choose not to remember how it really was in Egypt.

We would never say it but we ignore God’s Presence, doubt His promises and despise His provision.

And like the people of Israel, sometimes God gives us exactly what we think we want.

 

For the rest of this story read Numbers 11.

 

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “Three Days In

  1. Omg. That is brutally beautiful. So true!! I notice in conversation that we all stroke negativity !!! Thank you for validating our struggle.

  2. This Monday School post is spot on and so very timely for Thanksgiving week. We are all guilty of turning to complaining far too quickly when things get rough and on top of the complaining we imagine that the good old days were better than they actually were. Thank you and have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you Bruce. I spoke to a group on this last night and all of them agreed that, unfortunately it’s a thing with us – when the going gets tough, we tend to complain. That’s not a catchy phrase is it?

  3. Some of your best writing because it hits at the heart. It’s so easy to “romanticize” the former place we loved having selective memory about all the good stuff…forgetting the harder stuff. Good word, Marie!!

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