WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
While studying Israel’s exodus from Egypt and subsequent wilderness wandering, it is easy to notice the ongoing and frequent grumbling of Abraham’s descendants. It is also easy to criticize them for their lack of memory, gratitude and obedience. Before crossing the sea, barely having departed their homes after God had devastated Egypt with the plagues that allowed them freedom from centuries of slavery, they were complaining and regretting their situation. After God finally destroyed Pharaoh’s army in the sea while they were safely on the other side destined for their promised home in a land flowing with milk and honey, they continued their crabby attitude throughout their journey through the wilderness.
Although God had well-provided them with food, health, durable clothing and protection, they often complained to Moses and accused him and God of not caring for them (Ex. 15:24; 16:2, 7-9, 12; 17:3; Num. 14:2-4; 16:1-4; Deut. 1:27, are just a few examples). Their short, selective memory showed how they seemed to constantly be singing the refrain of a modern song, “what have you done for me lately?”. Their dependence and loyalty to God was tied to their perception of continual proof of His blessings. We shake our heads in disbelief and disappointment.
While we easily see and condemn the Israelite’s insolence, do we ever notice that we sometimes are just like them? Do we sometimes blame God for the problems and inconveniences of our lives without fully remembering His blessings for us? “Why do I suffer these things? If God loved me, He wouldn’t let these things happen! Where is God when I need Him? If God loved me, I ought to have a better life!” We often sing the same song as the Israelites.
Perhaps we need to listen to Paul as he addressed pagans in Athens about the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23-30). “He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). James also reminds Christians that all good gifts come from God (James 1:16-18). James goes on to point out how we are to live because God has given us these gifts. “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:19-22).
Do we tie our love and obedience to God only to our current perception of the tangible evidence of God’s provident care in our lives? Do we think the Lord only cares for us when we can see, feel, or touch things the way we think they should be? If so, are we just a modern manifestation of the ancient Israelite attitude?
For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; Josh. 1:5). Read Heb. 13:1-4 to be reminded of how we are to live. And thank God, in prayer and in how you live your life.