When Moses returned to Egypt to announce God’s plan for removing Israel from the yoke of slavery, his message was welcomed by the leaders of Israel as recorded in Exodus 4.
“Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.”Exodus 4:29–31, ESV
Notice the response of the people. They believed and then they worshipped.
So far, so good. Worship is a proper response when the good news that was announced to them was believed.
But as Paul Harvey used to point out, it is good to know the rest of the story, and we do know it.
The rest of the book of Exodus records the story of how the Israelites fussed at Moses and complained against God when things got difficult. At one point they even expressed a desire to return to Egypt even though their slavery was severe when they were there.
“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.””Numbers 11:5–6, ESV
My point is that we are made of the same stuff as the Israelites. It is so easy to worship when things are going the way we think they should.
But when things are hard, when things are not going according to our plan, when it seems that our life is too difficult, then we lash out at God and we lash out at those around us. Unfortunately, this is human nature.
But as believers, we have a resource that can allow us to rise above such complaining. We don’t have to be fickle like the Israelites. We can learn from Paul.
“. . . for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:11b–13, ESV
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit residing in us so that we can learn to be content no matter what life throws at us.
We don’t have to like our circumstances. We don’t have to pretend that they are what we want. We don’t have to give the illusion that it is easy to function in those circumstances.
But we can learn to be content and we can learn to accept them without lashing out at God or others.
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