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Never Enough (Part 1)

By bro Alvin Lin

While studying the book of Exodus, one thing that strikes me about the Israelites is that nothing ever seemed to satisfy them and God’s blessings were never enough for them. The first inkling of their propensity to complain can be seen when Pharaoh rejected Moses and Aaron’s appeal for the Israelites to leave Egypt to worship God (Exo 5:1-3). Pharaoh accused the Israelites of being idle, and as a result, increased their workload and dismissed their protests (Exo 5:4-19). Thereafter, they made Moses and Aaron convenient targets of their anger and frustrations (Exo 5:20-21), which would later become a familiar tale throughout their journeying in the wilderness. In this article, we shall consider seven other occasions where these Israelites murmured against God and Moses, and examine the object of their complaints and the cause of their discontentment. After all, “these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition” (1Co 10:11), “to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1Co 10:6).

(1) Fear

God freed the Israelites from Egyptian bondage but it was never enough for them.

And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. (Exo 14:11-12)

Pharoah and his servants’ pursuit caused them to be “sore afraid” (Exo 14:10), and they forgot how God had delivered them “from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exo 6:7). Fear is a powerful deterrent to contentment because we worry about the unknown future and whether we will have enough. Moses assuaged the fear of the Israelites by assuring them of “the salvation of the LORD” and that “the LORD shall fight for you” (Exo 14:13-14). Likewise, we have the assurance that our “heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” and He will provide for our needs so long as we “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Mat 6:32-33).

(2) Impatience

God brought the Israelites across the Red Sea but it was never enough for them.

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (Exo 15:24)

Three days in the wilderness without water caused the Israelites to be impatient when they came to bitter waters of Marah (Exo 15:22-23), and they forgot how God had gathered the waters of the Red Sea and enabled them to cross (Exo 15:8). Impatience is a powerful deterrent to contentment because we want immediate gratification and are not willing to wait. If the Israelites had been a little more patient, they would have found plenty of water a little further at Elim (Exo 15:27). Likewise, we have the assurance that God has “thoughts of peace” in His plans for us (Jer 29:11).

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