The Amazingly Dumb People Who Were Blessed But Not Satisfied

Once there were some people who were never satisfied. They complained constantly, and took offense at every slight. They weren’t happy, and they didn’t want anyone around them to be happy either. (Stop Me if You’ve Heard this Before…)

“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:10-12, NIV)

Whining is Unbecoming

The Israelites under Moses’ leadership were a study in contrasts, and no matter what happened, it seems they were never satisfied. They were miraculously delivered from slavery, and yet were ready to go back to their old lives at the first sign of trouble. Then the Hebrews reversed their field and went from rejoicing to rebellion in Exodus 15:24 (“the people grumbled against Moses”), and again in Exodus 16:3 (“If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!”). They saw miracles but lived in doubt. Insecurity plagued their every success, and they became unhappy, it seems, mere moments after being completely satisfied.

They followed Moses like children, but then were ready to kill him in Exodus 17:4. Moses’ followers wanted leadership but rebelled against it early and often. They saw God’s hand at work in their lives in miraculous ways, and then forgot it almost immediately, expressing themselves in both public and private grumbling and complaining. Whatever the Israelites were intended to become, their constant whining prevented them from achieving it. They were blessed but not satisfied.

Perhaps the unifying characteristic of mankind is never having enough. So far in the Bible narrative, we see it over and over. Adam and Eve wanted more. Cain was unhappy about his status compared to his brother. The people around Noah wanted every evil thing, continually. The builders at Babel wanted a greater name, a higher place. And now, after miraculous deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites demanded more from Moses, and more from God.

Always a Long List

They hungered for the way things used to be, with appetites for things of the flesh rather than things of the Spirit. The Israelites blamed their leaders instead of having faith in the Lord. They longed for the comforts of slavery back in the fleshpots of Egypt, and kept turning away from the adventure of a life of faith. At times they wished they were back in bondage to Pharaoh—a god of this world—instead of walking in freedom with God.

Can you believe these guys? How could anybody be so stupid? They were given freedom; how could people be given the gift of freedom only to misuse it? How could they profess to have God in their lives and then totally forget about Him from time to time?

I’m sure you get it by now, but these guys are us. We are blessed but not satisfied; as God’s children we can walk in freedom with God, but often choose bondage to sin instead; we blame our leaders instead of following them; some vaguely hunger for spiritual maturity, but usually choose instead the temporary satisfaction of old habits and persistent, selfish sin. We criticize and marginalize rather than cooperate and build up. The journey of the inconsistent, immature, worldly, unfaithful Israelites is like a mirror given to us so that we can see how to walk with God. How are you doing? Learn. Walk. Be happy.

Satisfied With Less

There were folks who once received a blessing
But still lived life as something just worth messing,
Always stressing, transgressing, needing some confessing, never addressing how distressing it was that they were not progressing…
They walked with God Himself along the way,
And had the chance to see Him every day.
Why, they could go right up to Him and pray!
And yet they usually treated Him casually,
Or intellectually, failing to really see
How much He longed to be close to them, personally.
They left theology for some debauchery,
Sinned with ubiquity, Lived in iniquity–
How could this ever be?? Guess what ?! It’s you and me.

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