Trust and Complain
Christopher B. Harbin
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95:6-11; John 4:5-42; Romans 5:1-11
Confidence is an issue of ongoing struggle. We question ourselves, we question the value of our actions, we question our impact on family, friends, society, and the world. We wonder how our lives can be of benefit to others, and where we stand in God's larger picture. We wonder how we can survive the storms and uncertainties of life. We wonder whether the foundations on which we build our lives are truly secure. When our confidence sinks to its lowest level, our complaints tend to sound their loudest. How can we find the needed security to trust God when anxiety makes it much easier to spread doubt, complaint, and distrust? Can trust overcome our fears?
The Exodus from Egypt was a powerful experience for the Hebrews. They suddenly gained new confidence, optimism, and hope. It was a hard-won confidence, however. When Pharaoh began pursuit, many were ready to turn back to the tried and true. When the chariots trapped them at the Sea of Reeds, many were ready to throw in the towel. When they reached the wilderness, they were ready to go back to the availability of Egyptian produce. When they found a dry land, they despaired for water. They complained. They whined. They grumbled. They blamed Moses. They blamed God. They were insecure with a future into which they could not see. Trust fled. Complaint, doubt, and fear took over.
It seems like a refrain in the generations of the Hebrew people. From one victory to the next, they forgot the faithful character of Yahweh's provision. They did not really understand that Yahweh could and would care for their needs. They struggled with the idea of trusting God beyond the limits of their grasp of the future. When everything was upbeat, it was simple to trust. They could trust when they did not have to. When they failed to see a way out--when trust and confidence were actually needed--that is when ...
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