Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Old Smart People

I will begin today with a confession--I don't like debates and I despise arguments, and when faced with conflict, my initial response is retreat. I would make a lousy politician and an even worse trial attorney. I am a confirmed lover of peace and harmony, unity and calm.

The children of Israel were not peaceful, harmonious, unified, or calm when they got hungry and thirsty--so states today's chapters, Exodus 16-18. They complained bitterly, saying that things had been better for them in Egypt because they'd had pots full of meat to eat. Despite having so much to be thankful for, they could only focus on their immediate circumstances. How quickly they forgot the heavy hardships of life under Pharaoh.

I often fail to appreciate my blessings when I focus on my circumstances. Just this week I have already grumbled about some of the tasks I had to complete at work, yet in this uncertain economy my only attitude should be gratitude that I even have work to complete.

In the past when reading this account, I've questioned how these ungrateful people could be so quick to forget God's amazing deliverance and exceptional provision. I've been puzzled by their ingratitude and short memories, yet when I give honest consideration to the way I behave and respond, I see the log in my own eyes.

Now, back to the original subject of my disdain for argument and debate. Poor Moses was having to settle disputes and disagreements between all the Israelites and was in serious danger of getting burned out. Fortunately for him, his wise father-in-law Jethro came for a visit, saw the problem, offered a solution, and saved the day.

Moral of this story sweet children--sometimes it pays to listen to your elders. Occasionally, we are smart.

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