“Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.” Exodus 16:8.
The Israelites of the Exodus generation witnessed many of the greatest miracles performed in the entire Bible. They saw all ten plagues that God brought down upon Egypt to free them; everything from the water being turned into blood to the death of the firstborns during the Passover. They witnessed how Moses led them out of Egypt, and when the Egyptians pursued the Israelites and pinned them between the Red Sea, God’s chosen people saw God l part the sea for them to escape while He destroyed the pursuing armies. If seeing is believing, then this generation should have had rock-solid belief.
Sadly, that was not the case. The Exodus generation is remembered mainly for their habitual complaining and nagging, and many would say that this is the reason that God performed so many miracles in their time, to repeatedly put their complaining and grumblings away. Shortly after the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, when God’s great and mighty deeds should have still been very fresh in their minds, the Israelites begin complaining about their lack of food. They gripe and complain and hearken back to the good ol’ days in Egypt when they had more than enough to eat, even though they had been saves in Egypt. The Israelites complain that Moses hadn’t come to free them at all, rather he’d brought them out to the wilderness to kill them.
God heard all of the Israelite complaints, and He instructed Moses to tell the people about the food that He would provide them. Quail appeared for the Israelites to eat, and every morning–except for the Sabbath–God would provide them with manna, a bread-like substance. Moses reminded the people that God had already done great and mighty things for them, and that he was following God’s instructions. Moses wanted the people to understand that when they complained about what he was doing, they were actually complaining about what God was doing. Their gripes and grumblings were about the actions of the same God who had just freed them from slavery and performed miracle after miracle to do so.
So often we do the same thing that the Israelites of the Exodus did. Despite all we have, we focus on what we lack. Regardless of what God has just done for us, we look to the next obstacle or trial and approach it as if we are totally alone. We think that, for one reason or another, God will break His pattern of always providing for us or meeting our needs. We put Him in a box and tell Him that our problems are bigger than He is. We gripe and complain, we worry about how to make ends meet, and we forget all the times that we have been sustained. Ultimately, we are ungrateful. We must learn from the example of the Exodus generation; we cannot exhibit the same pattern of behavior they modeled. We must continually be thankful and have faith. God will not change; He will always meet our needs.