If Moses Couldn’t Do It

Exodus 17:1-7

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Numbers 14:1-4

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

I am intrigued by the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their dissatisfaction with the Lord and all that was done for them.

The Jews suffered under the bondage of the Egyptians.  They cried out to be delivered.  The Lord hears their cries and sends them Moses.

This is what the Lord and Moses do.

Through a series of what can truly be described as “awesome” miracles Moses forces the stiff necked and hard hearted Pharaoh to release the Jews, allowing them to travel into the wilderness and live their lives as free men to worship God as they please.

The Jews are lead out of Egypt by Moses through the Red Sea.  God parts the Red Sea which allows the Jews to escape Pharaoh who has now changed his mind about letting them go.  The Jews witness the Red Sea collapse on Pharaoh’s army and now they are free to wander in the wilderness.

But every time things get difficult what do the Jews say?

They say, “Oh wow, I think we really had it better back in Egypt.  Yep it was definitely better being a slave and knowing what to expect each day.  This living hand to mouth in the wilderness, well it’s just too tough, slavery was a better choice.”

And every time they would start this whining God would give them another miracle to shut them up.

He performed miracles like water coming forth from a rock when they were thirsty, or manna falling from heaven when they were hungry.  But they even complained about having only manna to eat.

“Hey we’re awfully tired of this manna crap every day, how about some meat?  I’d bet we get meat if we were still slaves back in Egypt.”

This type of moaning and complaining goes on throughout the books or Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.

Look at Numbers 14:1-4 cited at the beginning of this post.

God is preparing to hand over the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites.  Moses sends out some spies to do some recon work and they comeback to report that it is going to be tough.

The people, who have witnessed countless miracles, hear that it’s going to be tough and once again say, “Wow we should have remained slaves in Egypt.  At least the Egyptians would have only worked us to death not kill us by the sword.”

What does this tell us about people and human nature?

Well for starters people tend to hate change. No matter how much they want it, when it finally comes they get scared.  The constant, the norm is nice and safe, the unknown is scary, and to the Jews it was even scarier than slavery.

It tells us that the past always seems to look better when you’re looking at it through the rear view mirror.  You know the saying, someday we’ll look back at this and laugh.  “Remember when Pharaoh killed our first born, good times eh?”

But it also tells us that people are never satisfied.  You can perform, epic, awesome and amazing miracles and they will still gripe and moan.

So if Moses, one of the greatest leaders of a people in history, can’t satisfy his people, what would make anyone think, “Oh we will put this one in office and the stars will align and all will be right with the world.  We will all rally behind them and move forward.”?

It’s easier to just gripe and moan.

Politics is a dirty, filthy, sinful business.

If a leader like Moses, who came from God, could not keep his people on task and happy, what on earth would make you think that a leader pulled out of the cesspool of politics would be more successful.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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