Most days when I sit down to write, I have a week’s worth of snark and sass that unloads into a blog post. The goal is to entertain, to elicit a smile, maybe even a giggle or, on a good day, a reader’s burst of laughter in a quiet public place. If you’ve come for humor, then I’ll reroute you to Co-Parenting With Google, because I’m boutta drop a word on y’all. *kiss, kiss, hug, hug*
The blog has been quiet for a few weeks, mainly because fall is insanely busy, but also because today’s post has been churning for awhile. An idea that I’ve meditated on for a few months, had to learn and re-learn. It’s simple and it’s this: When we are forgetful, God remains faithful.
Awhile ago, I spent some time reading through Exodus, in the Old Testament of the Bible. Moses is the key player in this book and he had the really small job of convincing the Pharaoh to let the enslaved Israelites leave the country. By the way, there were over a million Israelites (Exodus 12:37) and they kind of did a ton of work for Egypt, so Pharaoh wasn’t too excited to let them just walk away. Ok, spoiler alert, turns out God wins and Pharaoh loses. God delivers his people from Egypt and Moses is in charge of leading this massive exodus.
That’s only the first third of the book though. The rest of the book details the journey of the Israelites and their wandering in the desert, the laws and commandments that God establishes, and creating the Tabernacle. What really stuck with me was the recurring complaining and grumbling of the Israelites, a people group who were time and again provided for, and continued to fix their eyes on themselves rather than on the Lord.
Exhibit A: God has just delivered an entire nation of people from slavery to freedom in Exodus 14 and also managed to destroy the entire army of Pharaoh in the meantime (14:28). The Israelites are singing and celebrating and saying things to God like, “Who is like you- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders” (15:11). Then, the music stops like SCCCCCCRRRRTTT. They get to a place called Marah, experience thirst, and grumble. God in His goodness provides for them.
Exhibit B: They are only seven miles south of Marah, now in Elim (Chapter 16), and the whole community grumbles because they’re hungry. Look- I get it that hangry is a THING- and it’s no joke. But I read this story like, “Did y’all not just cross an ocean?” God hears their complaints and displays his power by providing food in a miraculous way on that day, and for the next forty years.
Exhibit C: New chapter (17), old complaint. The Israelites are thirsty again. Grumbling again. Guess they forget to fill their Yeti thermos up in Marah. Once more, God hears and provides.
We could play this game for chapters upon chapters. Especially in the book of Numbers. The Israelites are noted as complaining and grumbling in Numbers 11:1, 11:4, 14:1-4, 16:3, 16:41, 20:2-3, 21:5, which probably isn’t even an exhaustive list. If I were God, I would’ve been like, “I’M SO DONE WITH Y’ALL. For real. BYE.”
It’s so frustrating to read about the Israelites. They continued to be spiritually short-sighted and full of unbelief. They just didn’t get it. The extent of the Israelite’s forgetfulness, however, causes the faithfulness of God to be emphasized even more. He extended grace, mercy, deliverance, provision, and guidance- unconventional at times, in the eyes of the Israelites, perhaps- yet, given freely and generously to a forgetful people.
Is this not the story of the entire Bible? A God who extends mercy and kindness to people who have rebelled and forget who He is and what He has done… over and over and over again?
Turns out I’m not so unlike the Israelites after all. I grumble because I’m dissatisfied and God graciously meets a need. I complain because I think the time table should be different and God gently reminds that His paths are beyond tracing out (Romans 11:33). I stubbornly choose my own way and God displays unlimited patience to draw me back.
So today, written for you and for me, when we are forgetful, God is a faithful God.
For you, young Mom, caught up in chasing munchkins and organizing carpools.
For you, weary believer, who needs a reminder to endure and rest in who He is.
For you, who walked away from faith long ago.
For you, whose busy schedule doesn’t allow for an extra moment of reflection or spiritual rest.
And for me, today, right now. Because even the one (especially the one) who pens the post needs to be continually reminded of God’s great faithfulness.
The point isn’t to acknowledge we’re forgetful and carry on in our half-hearted allegiance, distracted forgetfulness, or even willful rebellion. Let’s confess our shortcomings to the God who already knows, who stands ready to forgive. Let’s press on and pursue Jesus.