And you murmured in your tents and said, “Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. (Deuteronomy 1:27 ESV)
As Moses recounts their time in the wilderness he recalls what was said when the people would not go into the Promised Land. They murmured. And what they murmured is crazy! “Because the Lord hated us!” This is not a rational statement, but then again, I suppose that is the nature of murmuring. It is an expression of feeling more than anything, and because they face a frightening challenge in pushing out the “giants” in the land, they blame the Lord. From the point of view of the reader things look much different. God’s mighty hand that rescued them from Egypt and his constant care for them in the wilderness (with Manna, water, quail, etc.), his provision of sacrifice points clearly to God’s love for them. Additionally, we hear the conversations between God and Moses. We get the broader perspective. So we can see that their murmuring is foolish.
But we have also experienced strong fears and frustrations that, when we are not careful, tend to lead us to do and say irrational things. This was the case of the Israelites. These are the times we find ourselves angry at God or blaming God for bad things happening in life, things that we cannot explain. Sometimes we associate some rational thought to such times and simply can’t come up with reasons why God would allow such things. In times like this we need to remember that there always is a bigger picture and that bigger picture points us to a God who is faithful to his people, disciplining them through hard times to teach them to trust him and walk with him. We see this in the wandering of Israel in the wilderness. And we see how great God’s love is for his people as we look to Jesus on the cross and consider all that God did to accomplish such a great rescue for us. This may not always appeal to the strong emotions that drive our murmuring, but nonetheless, it is true. And we must remember that it is true and thank God for it.
Lord, would you give us this perspective when we are feeling particularly down and perhaps even irrationally despairing. When we murmur would you be gracious to us and put people in our lives that are willing to remind us of your goodness, as Moses did for the people.