Wilderness Wandering

Exodus 16:2-3     The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses, and Aaron in the wilderness.  the sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Psalms 119:36     Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

Proverbs 18:2    Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.

Proverbs 11:25    A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Philippians 2:14-15     Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become harmless, children of God.

John 6:43     Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.”

James 5:9     Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.


I am not a camper.  I would go and enjoy it if it was a pull trailer equipped with kitchen amenities, a raised bed, certainly not my sleeping bag on the ground where it does not matter how carefully I rake the area before I out my bag down, there are sticks and stones that poke my body, even when I wriggle away.  NO, that is not for me.  But a 23′ foot pull trailer with propane AC/heating, my little kitchenette stove/oven, my microwave, and fridge, my decent closet, and albeit toilet and shower are TINY, it is indoors, and certainly works for the tasks I need to complete.  A few plugs take care of sewer out, electric in, and I am a good camper.  I would have been burned up early on if I was with the Israelites.  I would have been grumbling.  ‘How do I even put the pole is so I can secure this tent covering?  Is there a tent covering or is all my mess visible to all?’  

Oh, yes, I would have been grumbling, shamefully (well now I feel ashamed of the harridan I would have been) and loudly.  So for me to imagine the daily life and wanderings of the Israelites is overwhelming.   I can even easier picture the American Indians moving on and following their prey and food source, and living their simplistic life better than the idea of the poor Israelites, several MILLION people, making camp, living in camp.  You were banished outside the camp when you were defiled, and when you had to use the toilet.  So do you wonder how far they had to wander for that?  I certainly do.

I can’t even imagine the team work necessary to put up camp, break down camp, and then add the temple and all its holy objects; corral and feed and care for all these animals.  How much water does that take to feed the many herds?   How long does it take to just breakdown a household, still have food available for whining children, nursing infants, and so forth?  It is more than my mind can even begin to guess at.  Yet this is how these folks lived for forty years.   Granted they didn’t travel daily, yet, sometimes they traveled for several days without stopping.  This was to coordinate a few MILLION people to be in teamwork all working toward a goal of packing or putting up, and each with its own part of that process.  Some broke apart their own households, all had to carry things, all needed to be ready to move out when it was their turn according to which of the twelve tribes they belonged.  It all had to be coordinated for all these people, these animals, and the children. 

The Bible does not share with us about sandstorms and the heat and awful dryness daily.  Nor does it mention sand everywhere.  Here at the beach, I go play for a day, and am so glad to shower aware the grit, sand, and salt of this.  Water was not just available at the turn of a knob, sand must have been embedded in hair, sandals, clothing, tents, bedding and might as well jump into the bread and manna since I have no idea what you could put it in for preventing it going everywhere.  Oh Yes, I would have been a squawking loon!

During their travels, God gave a bunch of commands and rules and laws—what they could and could not eat, when they were considered clean and unclean, what was considered good, and what was considered not worthwhile.  He also gave them the Ten Commandments—and while writing them, the Israelites decided they wanted to have a “god” they could see and worship, something visible to worship.  It had only taken a few days for them to mistrust God, and obviously Moses, and they were quick to leave God behind, even after He had delivered water from a rock, parted the Red Sea and ensured their safety   while crossing and then ensuring the Egyptians all died as the waters flowed over them.   They had experienced all sorts of miracles; yet they chose to run to something THEY constructed, nothing that was a miracle, nothing that would help and feed or supply them with anything.

Although they saw how God helped to ensure they were released from the Egyptians and were promised a land of milk and honey, I wonder how they could so easily be swayed away from God. 

I do know that sometimes there are worldly allures that pull us away from God, and temptations which reach out to us.  But I do find it hard to think these people could so easily beg Aaron for a visible “god” and then they formed one, threw gold into a pot and formed a molten calf.  Aaron had been beside Moses throughout all of this—ten plagues, parting of the Red Sea, seeing water delivered from a rock and so forth.  How was it so easy for Aaron to turn aside from his brother and all he had seen?   How could he be so easily led away from God and the miracles he had seen and experienced?  He was the priest, the religious leader of these people, and yet, he walked away from the true God, within days as his brother was gone for a total of forty days.  At the pressure and complaints of the people, he was easily swayed.

How often do we give up waiting, losing patience with God’s promises, and reverting to something to assuage our feelings of loss, frustration, impatience, and try to take matters into our own hands?  Certainly, I have railed against waiting, and waiting, and….

Yet, Abraham waited for forty years to have his own son with his wife.  He believed and held onto God’s promises.  And when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, he willing packed up the supplies, and carried the youngster to the mountain where he’d been told to sacrifice the boy.  He trusted God would provide the sacrifice.  He waited, expectantly, all the while doing exactly as God commanded

Sara became impatient and encouraged her husband to have a child with her slave.  And again, serious issues developed because she had taken matters into her hands;  what does it take for us to believe and wait on Him with trust?

There’s an entire book written that encourages us to wait on His promises, that tells us He alone is the ONLY GOD; He alone is with us always; He alone tells us to not fear, not grow weary of trusting in Him.  Yet, often, we drift as though on an air mattress tossed into the ocean and without anchor, we doze off, then waking find ourselves much further away from shore than is safe and healthy. 

Story after story tells of the need to wait.  A savior would be provided; a start would shine in the town to announce the birth; He would be borne of a virgin…. The Israelites waited hundreds of years for a savior.  There is always waiting throughout the bible; because that is life.  We wait for His promises. 

Grumbling and whining only adds to your own blue feelings, but certainly tend to pull others down, no matter how optimistic and hopeful they are.  How dare any of us cause others to feel badly?  Grumbling is like  rapid spreading mold or cancer–it causes damage.  Don’t be responsible for damaging and hurting others.

I pray I expend no more impatience –waiting, and acting sinfully, full of my own selfish, self-centered ways.  In truth, it has become easier to wait.  I believe His timing is perfect.  It may still not be my timing preference, but still, I have seen time and again, that He comes and answers.  So I’ve learned to hand over my impatience; sometimes, annoyingly it pops back into my head.  So, while thinking of it, I either roll it like a large hefty ball in my hands and throw it fiercely aiming for “Satan’s” head; or I pretend it is in my hands, then raise it to God to take away, so I can no longer actually think of it.   It’s in His hands; no longer mine to keep as a “god” to worry and therefore, worship over.

God, I thank You for my growth over the years.  I still have so very far to go–I still see selfish petulance in me far too often.  But You have carried me far and blessed me and ‘mybellaviews.’