I am stunned every time I read the story of the Exodus. How can the people of Israel complain like they do? How could they be so ignorant, so stupid, so forgetful?
The God of the universe had just tossed around the most powerful man on the face of the earth like a toddler with a rag doll. God didn’t just humble Pharaoh; he broke his spirit and revealed Pharaoh’s impotence. A slave people and their God left him and his nation in shambles. This display of power sent vibrations throughout the world, inspiring fear and awe.
The Deadly Disease of Spiritual Amnesia
Yet Israel’s response to this spectacular deliverance from Egypt is not mainly praise, worship, and whole-hearted trust. Instead, Israel responds with grumbling — complaining, murmuring, quarreling. “No water, Moses! Where’s the beef, Moses? I have blisters on my feet, Moses. Who died and made you boss? Are we there yet, Moses?” Spiritual amnesia set in quickly and covered the eyes of Israel’s hearts. So soon had they forgotten God’s gracious and miraculous deliverance?
This spiritual amnesia — forgetting God’s deliverance and provision — is a deadly disease. The people of Israel, on the heels of unthinkable miracles, with their pockets full of Egyptian jewelry, grumble at their less-than-five-star accommodations in the desert. This wasn’t just headache-induced grumbling or low-blood-sugar complaining. This was faithlessness. It is the heart that says, “I know better than God. If only he would follow my plan.”