And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.
This was the sound of the second generation of Israelites in the wilderness as they complained to Moses about their living conditions and present lack of water. The name of the place where they arrived was Meribah, meaning to "grumble and gripe.”
Sadly, this is the second time the congregation has come to this place. The first time was with the first generation, the parents of these children. What did their parents say to Moses when they arrived there only a few days after their deliverance from Egypt? "Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?" (Exodus 17:3). Does this sound familiar? Like father, like son. By the time the children had arrived at the same spot, most of the first generation had died off. And the second had grown up in the wilderness, remembering little or nothing about Egypt. Yet, they could complain as well as their parents.
Griping knows no generation, time period or level of income. No matter how much you have learned and experienced, you still complain. Like the song says, "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.” Instead of looking at all of God's blessings up until this time, you still look at what you do not have. In your natural life, you will never have enough income or possessions to feel content. Contentment for most people, including many of God's children, is just a few more possessions or one more level of income away.
Tell Your Children
Had these children, who were raised in the wilderness, ever tasted figs, vines or pomegranates? No. They were either just born when they left Egypt or were born in the wilderness. All they have ever known has been the supernatural provision of God to provide manna, quail and water. They have been given a cloud by day and fire by night to keep them cool and warm when needed. Also their clothes and shoes have grown with them.
What have their parents been telling their children for forty years? They have told them the goodness of living in Egypt. They never told them about the slavery, killings, building pyramids, homes and mansions for the Egyptians. They also never told them about God's miracles in the wilderness. They have come to Meribah, where their parents came thirty nine years before and did not know about God supernaturally providing water for their parents.
It is important for each generation to share their successes and failures with their children. There are no new problems and each generation will face the same Satan and circumstances their parents and grandparents faced. Since there are no new problems, there are no new answers. The scriptures, which delivered generations in the past, will work today. Children need to know their parents were not perfect and have arrived to their level of success by the grace and forgiveness of God still available today. And, no matter how much success we had before we were saved, it is absolutely nothing compared to the place we presently stand in the family of God.
Worry is Always Future
God told us in Psalm 103:2, "forget not all his benefits." If we wake up each day with an attitude of praise for all God has done for us, it becomes almost impossible to worry. If your answered prayers and desires which have been met, are listed in your Bible or spiritual diary, you can do almost nothing except praise God. The God who has met every need up until now will not fail you today or tomorrow.
Worry is always future. Worry says, "I know God came through for me in the past, but it is all going to fail tomorrow or next week. I have had my rent payment before, but I will be evicted by this time next month." If Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, how could He possibly fail to provide for you today or tomorrow?
The Short Memory of the Israelites
The second generation told Moses they wished they would have died with the first generation (Numbers 20:3). This is typical of people in trouble, they wish they were dead. Elijah said this as he laid under the juniper tree after running from Jezebel the queen (1 Kings 19:4). When people say this, they rarely mean it, they are just looking for sympathy. If Elijah really wanted to die, he could have stayed home. The queen promised to kill him when she found him.
Then, both generations of the Israelites told Moses they had figured out God's plan in removing them from Egypt. God planned on bringing them to Meribah, which had no water, to kill them, their children and cattle with thirst. THINK ABOUT THAT.
The Jews were saying, God's plan was to protect them during slavery in Egypt for four hundred years and then raise up a deliverer, Moses. He would then protect them from ten plagues which hit Egypt, but never touched them or their families in Goshen. God then planned to deliver them through the Red Sea while He drowned Pharaoh and his armies behind them. He would then bring them across the sea with gold and silver and heal them all so that "not one feeble one would be among them.” He would then provide pure water for them at Marah, where they were faced with bitter water. Then, despite His promise to take them to Canaan and give them a land of their own, He brought them to Meribah TO KILL THEM.
Your Short Memory
Think about your own life. God saved you after creating a plan for you from the foundation of the world. He sent Jesus to the cross to provide salvation for you of which you accepted many years ago. Since that day, God has never failed you, brought you through financial disaster, healed you repeatedly and protected you and your family always. Now, despite His promises to you to be your friend and provide for you for all of eternity, you have figured out what God is really up to. He is going to let you go bankrupt and die of cancer before the week is over. Really? God did not bring you to this point to kill you.
Israel’s Problem is Probably Yours Too
God told us the problem of the wilderness generation in Hebrews chapter three and four. They never mixed the promises of God with faith. Faith is how you are to face the future, not with worry, fear or despair. Faith mixed with Gods promises produces rest. The life of faith and rest is the opposite of worry. Rest is what Jesus did in the ship while the disciples worried and despaired about their lives in the storm. Jesus went to sleep on a pillow. His pillow was the promise, let us pass over to the other side. Jesus mixed faith with the promise. The disciples forgot the promise and feared what they heard and saw. They thought Jesus had brought them there to kill them.
The same God who delivered Israel after four hundred years of slavery and brought them into their inheritance, is the same God who promised to supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He also told you emphatically that if He is for you, no problems of life could be against you (Romans 8:31). If Jesus overcame the world, so can you. If heaven is already promised to you, apparently you are going to make it through this trial. Apparently you are going to make it through every trial after that because God already has a place prepared for you at the marriage supper. If every problem has been planned for and answered by God, you have no reason to worry.