Friday, February 13, 2009

Whine and Dine...

Do you know any whiners? We had a rule when our children were little--ask without whining or you won't be heard. When they whined, we ignored--and if the whining persisted, we ignored some more. But they only thought we were ignoring, because in truth, whining is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore. There are few things more annoying in the universe than to be whined at by someone hoping to achieve their purpose by altering their voice to sound pitiful. Whining, like nails on a chalkboard or the sound of a dentist's drill, irritates, frustrates, and aggravates.

Apparently, God felt the same way about whining that I do. Today's scriptures are Numbers 7 through 11. In these chapters, the children of Israel are still journeying in the wilderness. They have been numbered, ordered, blessed, instructed, provided for and set free from captivity--yet in chapter 11 we learn that they just aren't satisfied.

Certainly there were probably aspects of this journey that were difficult, but God was leading them and taking care of their every need--yet for some, it wasn't enough.

The manna that God provided for them to eat was free and plentiful--and apparently it could be prepared into cakes that might have tasted like donuts, yet they grumbled. "Who will give us meat to eat?"

Were they seriously expecting provision to come from any source but God? And doesn't this suggest that they weren't satisfied with what God graciously offered and wanted something more, different, or better? Obviously, yes. Scripture says they actually wept about this "dilemma" they were so distraught.

Interestingly, I don't read anywhere that God prohibited hunting while they were in the wilderness. And if they REALLY wanted some meat, they had herds of their own. But rather than taking a little initiative, they preferred to whine, grumble and complain.

If you read the text, you'll discover that God wasn't any happier to hear the whining than we are when we hear it. In fact, here's what The Lord told Moses to say in chapter 11:

18 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. 20 You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

In this instance, giving them what they asked for was not a blessing. As a child, I can remember being warned, "be careful what you wish for," and it's the same for me today as a Christian. When I fail to appreciate the good things God gives, longing instead for the cravings of my flesh, I am in serious danger of becoming a whiner who needs a "whooping". If you've never heard that term, it's what my grandmother called a good, old-fashioned spanking. And that's what whiners usually deserve.

For some of the children of Israel, that's all they got--a spanking. Not literally of course, but in the sense that they had to eat quail until they were sick of it. Some of the whiners got far worse, however--they actually died as a result of their gluttonous consumption. The place they were camped was even named after the results of this whine-fest as we see in these verses:

34 So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony”) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.

I am so grateful to God that he has provided these accounts as reminders to us that his provision is always sufficient, his blessings are always superior and his patience is enormous, but not to be taken for granted.

Lord, please forgive me for whining, for ever failing to express sincere appreciation for the blessings and provision you give, and for ever expecting you to provide anything except those things that you know to be best for me. I am eternally and forever grateful. Amen.

"I am blessed, I am blessed
From when I rise up in the morning
Til I lay my head to rest
I feel You near me
You sooth me when I'm weary
Oh Lord, for all the worst and all the best
I am blessed"

No comments:

Post a Comment