Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The girls and I were studying the Old Testament. We studied the Israelites leaving Egypt in Exodus and years of wandering that continues through Numbers. An obvious pattern popped out to Elizabeth, and as I read in Numbers 21:5 she put her head in her hand and said,"oh no, not again." She is 8, but she had observed the pattern of God's people that was complaining followed by discipline. We are not in Egypt with them, but as they complained again about the crummy food and accommodations it is hard not to cringe. It became clear reading through the Old Testament like this that God loathes complaining and is not silent about it. There can be the very natural response of finger shaking. Isn't it SO easy to see fault in others? What do you do when you see a brother stumble? You help him up. That is love, but also ask yourself how do I or have I struggled with this very thing. In this case, who of us has not or does not struggle with complaining? Do we recognize it for the sin that it is and that it hurts and angers our Father? This passage in 21:5 results in a lot of people getting bit by poisonous snakes and dying, but right now I want to focus on the other side that presents a few verses ahead. In Numbers 21:16-17. The Israelites get to a new location. There is no water, so Moses asked them to dig a well that they might have some. They set to work and sang as they dug! They traded their complaining for praising. The result, the obvious gift of water, but also the next town they came to denied them passage, attacked the Israelites and the Israelites won! After about 38 years of wandering in the desert they took over the city. They had wells, homes, vineyards, fields.... The Israelites had a paradigm shift in their faith after the many years of hardship capped by the struggle with snakes in their camp. It seems they finally shifted faith in the physical world to the Father who created it and were blessed for it. Their earthly experience shifted radically when they started singing joyfully for the water they trusted their Father would provide instead of complaining that it wasn't there waiting for them. In Hebrews 11 the Bible says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I thank the Israelites for reminding me of what that looks like. It reminds me to stand back and look at my life. Looks for ways that I can be better for my Father and certainly, do everything without complaining. Thoughts and comments welcome. Iron sharpens iron.
Philippians 2:14-16--Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.