It Was Better In Egypt

complain

If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat around pots of meat and ate as much food as we wanted, but now you have brought us out into this wilderness to have this whole community die of hunger. Exodus 16:3

Every time I read through this part of the Old Testament I shake my head at the Children of Israel and their obvious lack of appreciation for all the blessings God gave them.

He sent ten plagues on the Egyptians which resulted in the Israelite’s exit from slavery. God moved the Egyptians to willingly provide going away gifts to the them of silver, gold and clothing. (Exodus 12:36)  When Pharaoh had a change of mind and decided to hunt them down, God provided a way through the Red Sea to escape. He even eliminated any further threat from the Egyptians by destroying their entire army.

There was more. God provided pillars of cloud and fire to serve not only as a means to lead the traveling nation, but also as a reminder that he was always there with the Israelites. When water was not readily available, he provided it. God daily sent manna each morning and quail every evening for food.

And yet I read If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt. What was wrong with those people–the chosen people of God!

But a few weeks ago I realized that I am no different than they. Diane and I yellowstone lakereturned from a road trip to Yellowstone National Park where we saw the marvelous creation in mountainswhich we are blessed to live.  Mile after mile we saw the hand of God as we gawked at the perfection of mountains, forests, wildlife and more.  We were additionally blessed by our travel mates, Diane’s sister and brother-in-law who added to our enjoyment. The blessings of this trip was not something I could take for granted.

Upon arriving home, more blessings. Our youngest daughter and her family, recently moved from Texas to Minnesota, came to visit for the weekend. Then followed a birthday celebration hosted by my oldest son and his family. My youngest son, his wife and our youngest grandson were also there. On Sunday we attended church again with family members. Is there such a term as being mega-blessed?

Ah, but then came Monday and my obvious connection to the Israelite complaint line became evident. For almost two years, we have waited for God to resolve some financial proceedings. I immediately began to assault his ears with questions about when was he going to act? I told him it is unfair that we need to wait so long to receive the blessing of his solution. Sometimes I think I operate under the belief that blessings are only as good as the next one.

I need to ask myself some questions here. Do I understand that a blessing is something that God gives to me only because of his love–it is neither earned or deserved? I can say yes to that one, although often I find myself believing that “God will bless me if . . .” I act, speak or whatever in a certain way.

Am I aware of and appreciate the blessings that I receive? Again I would say yes to this but honestly with some exceptions. I often receive blessings in ways I would never imagine. It takes me a while to see them as blessings because they did not necessarily come to me as I had planned.

As I wait to see how God will bless our requests do I completely believe the following passage from Philippians 4:6-7? Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

OK, a lot of passage here. I will start in the middle. I do bring my requests to God. I thank him for the opportunity to pray to him but I am not always thankful for the challenges he puts in my life or that I have to wait for an answer.

Do I worry or become anxious about how God will bless us with his solutions? Even if I rationalize and call it having concern, I admit that in some cases I do not feel the peace mentioned in this passage.

As I look at the peace mentioned above I can see that many times I am looking for something that is not mentioned here. When Paul wrote the words the peace of God he was not referring to a peace that is experienced once my issues are resolved.

Rather what Paul is saying is to bring all my concerns and problems and place them before God in prayer. Then live in peace because those issues are now in the hands of God, who created me and saw to it that I have faith–faith in his son Jesus the Christ who suffered, died and rose to pay for all my sins.

Now come on, John–why spend time complaining or worrying over blessings that are out of reach? I couldn’t create myself. God did that. I couldn’t set my sinful self right with God. God’s son Jesus did that. Why do I relegate all the other blessings I receive to second place and even further down. Rather, I perseverate over something over which I have no control?

Simply answered–my focus is on myself and not on God. I exercise my “right” to complain, feel cheated and unfairly treated more than I go to him and his word for strength. My life is not to be based on the blessings I receive but rather I am blessed as [I] walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) 

The blessings are countless in my life. Because of God’s love the blessings will continue. I can find peace in that. That may need to be renewed through God’s word day by day or even minute by minute. But his love has never failed me.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you can come again. I will wait you.

This is an old song but reveals my need for an attitude adjustment when it comes to blessings.

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