It’s November, the month of national Thanksgiving. Facebook friends are posting daily thanksgiving notes and families are preparing for family Thanksgiving feasts. Christians should be introspective about our thankfulness and ask a couple of questions. First, do I credit my heavenly Father with the mercies and even the riches that I experience? Secondly, do I extend my thanksgiving habits to every day of every month of every year (because those are the days in which I experience new blessings from the Father)?
Numbers 11 chronicles a most ungrateful day in the history of Israel. The question they posed to Moses was “Why did you bring us out of Egypt?” In the previous two chapters alone, God had lovingly led them, speaking to them through the meek man, Moses (9:1); thus, showing them that He had brought them out to be a people for His own possession. He had provided that amazing pillar of fire and cloud to cover the tabernacle, beckoning them to go and then to rest, characteristically remembering their humanness and their need for His divine guidance (9:15). He had promised to perform this amazing feat perpetually, giving them peace about the future plans he had for them (9:16). He had designed an elaborate trumpet alarm system, so the people could not fail to know the meaning of his communication with them (10:1-8). He reiterated his perpetual promise to hear and remember them (10:9) and His great ark searched out their resting places (10:33). All of these blessings directly preceding Numbers 11 are listed exclusive of even any mention of the fact that He miraculously plagued Egypt, the nation which plagued Israel with an excessively harsh form of slavery and that He dried up a large sea so that they could pass through and then summoned those same waters to crash together again on the Egyptians.
But they didn’t like the food that God rained down from heaven for them. So, in the midst of unprecedented protection and guidance the question God loathed was directed at His servant Moses “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt?”
See, when we indict God’s Word or His ordained leaders, we indict God, Himself. He’s made us, imperfect people, a part of His divine church, the Israel of today. He’s spoken to us through his Holy Spirit’s revealed Will and given us elders to feed us and guide us in the expedition of His will on earth. He has ordained our leaders in marriage and in our nations, too. He’s also promised us rest and given us the amazing place of communication at His throne that we know as prayer. And yet sometimes we verbalize the question God hates. We say, “Why?”…”Why?”, mind you, is not always wrong. But when we indict God with the question, it reeks with ingratitude.
“If God is so loving, then why is the Bible so full of condemnation?”
“If homosexuality is a sin, then why did God make homosexuals?”
“Why should I have to go along with decisions my husband makes when he’s so insensitive?”
“Why did the elders make this decision? It’s just so inconvenient to have class before worship!”
“And why do they expect us to come to Wednesday Night classes? Don”t they know we have ballgames?”
“Why me? Why am I the one with this disease?”
Sometimes we forget that we borrow life from Him. It is His air and He designed the lungs that breathe it. It’s His water table and His sunlight and He made the plants that convert them to food for our sustenance. He gave us digestive systems to process food and work to recycle its energy. Moreover, it’s His scheme of man’s redemption; and the soul in me that responds to the plan is His, too. It’s His cleansing that’s my only hope. Whenever I find his word burdensome, may I remember how lost I’d be without revelation from Him. When the authority over me seems “Insensitive”, may I recall the insensitivity he encountered for me at Calvary. When service seems inconvenient, may I call to mind the great rescue from hell that occurred because He left the splendor of heaven…for me. When earth’s sickness and death seem cruel and I’m tempted to blame God, may I remember that He is the One who has swallowed death in victory (I Corinthians 15:54). May I pause before I ask “Why?”…just to be sure I’m not complaining about the free food.