Complaining in the wilderness
by Lilian van der Wel
The people want to go back. In Egypt they had been happy, they think. There they had a lot of good things like delicious food. While they are complaing, they paint the situation in Egypt more beautiful than it really was. And life in the desert was actually not that great! The people say to Moses: “Why have you taken us out of Egypt? To die in the wilderness?”(Numbers 20:3) And that was not the first time they complained. The people are longing for figs and grapes and pomegranates. And above all: water! Their complaint is heard: they get water from the rock. The place where all of this happens is called: “Meriva”, which means: quarrel. For it happened with a lot of quarreling.
Moses and Aaron are then told that they will not enter the Land. G’d had given instruction to speak to the rock and there would come water out of it. Moses did not do that. Instead, he hit the rock with his staff. With their complaining, the people had driven him to the limit. Moses has become angry. Should Moses have stayed calm? Should he have trusted in G’d more?
And the people? Should they have trusted more in G’d and in Moses their leader? If you are sure that everything is going to be all right and that in hard times G’d will not leave you alone, it may be easier to compain less. For although it may sound funny, suffering also makes a human being wise. Out of suffering can come good things. Important to remember is that G’d will carry you and will be always with you!
Verse to remember: “You do not have to endure trials that you cannot bear. G’d is trustworthy and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. He will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13).