Exodus 16:1-8; 17:1-7
A young Catholic priest decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict sect. The abbot told him at his indoctrination, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. They could not speak one word at all. However, every ten years, they would be permitted to speak two words. After ten years of total silence, the abbot told the young monk that he could now speak his two words. The monk said, “Bed hard!” He then returned to his silent study and work. Another ten years passed, and the abbot told the middle-aged priest it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Food bad!” He then returned to his silent study and work. Another ten years passed, and the abbot told the late middle-aged priest it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “I quit!” The abbot shook his head and said, “I knew this was coming. You have done nothing but grumble and complain since you got here thirty years ago!
Now let’s see if we remember the Israelites story up until now. They were oppressed and suffering in Egypt, but God heard their cries and delivered them with Moses as their guide. They saw the Egyptians “hot on their heels” and God saw what was happening. God instructed Moses to raise his staff and part the Red Sea. The Israelites crossed to the other side and the waters drowned Pharaoh’s army who pursued them. God again protected and saved them.
The Israelites were safe on the other side, but they were still discontented, and they grumbled and complained. “Traveling was hard and tiring. Along the way the people became hungry. They complained to Moses. “I’m so hungry!” one boy cried. “I wish we could go back to Egypt!” whined a little girl. God knew what the people needed before any of this! God had seen what was happening. God heard their complaining, cries and grumbling. God provided quail when they hungered for meat, manna when they hungered for bread, and water to slake their thirst.
So, what could the people have done rather than complaining and grumbling given their history? They could have trusted God to provide. Rather than grumbling and complaining, they could have made their requests known to God through prayer. When we are in need, let us make our requests known to God through prayer. When we are in need, let us trust that God knows our needs before we ask, and that God will provide.
O God, when we are prone to complain, grumble and whine, remind us of Your loving care. When we resort to those actions, forgive us. Help us to trust that You know our needs and You will provide. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.