It only took 3 days. In seventy-two hours, the Israelites went from singing and celebrating the great deliverance they saw with their very own eyes, to being unable to “see” how their God could possibly help them with their current need. They went from celebrating to grumbling. In just 3 days, the miracle was forgotten, and in my case, so was the lesson learned.
Oh the skill our enemy the devil has in successfully tempting us to forget the goodness and power of our God! As easy as it is to see the fickleness of the Israelites, I grieve to realize I am no better. From the time I wrote my last post on Sunday about the lesson learned at the Red Sea, to Wednesday evening, I became so discouraged. What loomed in my view was the magnitude of what needed to be achieved in order to reach my goal in the ministry I am pursuing. Like the Israelites, the scarce view of what I need seemed to transfer into the scarce view of my God. Instead of focusing on what He had already done, I zeroed in on what was not being done. And there I was, discontented.
It says in Exodus 14:29-31 how the Israelites saw two things that day and the resulting consequence. They saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore, drowned by the Red Sea they had just safely and miraculously walked through. They also saw the great power of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians. The result? The people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant.
They took time to sing and dance, celebrating all that had happened in plain, unmistakable view of everyone. Then in says in Exodus 15:22-24 how Moses led Israel from the Red Sea into the desert. For three days they traveled without finding water and when they finally did, it was bitter and they were unable to drink any of it. The people began to grumble……
Why did they fail to remind themselves of the miracles they had seen? Why did they not remember more of what they had learned of their God and His character? Why were those lessons easily seen so fleeting when it came to processing their current need? Why didn’t they simply ask God for water instead of grumbling about the lack of it?
We clamor for “seeing is believing” kind of faith but what good does that do for us? When we do see and believe, we seem to quickly forget anyway. Our memory is so selective! Just like the people again in Exodus 16 as they grumbled about all the food and pots of meat they had to eat while in Egypt. Being beaten and enslaved seemed to have been forgotten. We remember what we want to remember, much of it based on our mood rather than wisdom and truth. The snare of selective memory is a trap laid for us by our enemy and we fall victim to it more than we realize. We know we have been “snared” by feeling discouraged and the resulting tendency to grumble and complain.
I had definitely been snared. And I knew it. When I went to bed last night, I tried to remember the recent blessing of what my oldest son received from the Lord. It has been a long, long time coming and we are still rejoicing in the answer to his need. But I found that during the night, I woke and started to rehearse what wasn’t going as expected. The plain truth is that what I rehearse is my choice. Rehearsing is not the same as remembering.
I am reminded of the wisdom of 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” This exhortation is an example of the danger in an ” Out of sight, out of mind” faith mentality. What we have seen and heard from Him needs to be repeatedly placed in the front of our minds. That’s why the word “remember” is spoken of over 230 times in the Scriptures, with 45 being in the Psalms alone. God knows the importance of our “remembering” and the relationship it has to our thriving faith. Eyes to see are to transfer into heart and minds that remember! That is what will keep us from the short trip to discontent. Remembering!
David in Psalm 16:8 says it all. ” I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Nor will I grumble……I will choose to remember, and not to rehearse.
What about you? What are you rehearsing ? What can you remember and rejoice in that will keep you from the discontent of the Israelites? If He is at YOUR right hand, you will not be shaken! So remember!