The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. They wanted a change in their life, they wanted freedom. In fact God had promised them freedom, but day after day they trudged on as slaves. Then came the day God set them free from their captors. When they marched out of Egypt freedom was theirs. God had given it to them. But they didn’t always choose to use their freedom. Sometimes when they got up in the morning they left it under the bed. Then instead of change being something they wanted and needed they became afraid of the very thing that could set them free.
When the Israelites were trapped between the Red Sea and their former masters marching to take them back into slavery they couldn’t see any other possibility for their future than certain death. They were trapped with the enemy coming up behind them and the Red Sea before them. Death was eminent and they wanted to go back to their old familiar stomping grounds of slavery. Surely slavery was better than death. Rather than whole heartedly embracing the change God had given to them they had kicked it under their bed and now it resided in the dark and it looked scary.
When we rely on our own self power to change we have fear because we can not clearly see the future. But if we could only see the change God offers us by the full light of day we would embrace its beauty for God only wants to use change in our lives to bring us into our promised land. The reason most of us fear change is because we imagine crawling under that dark dusty bed with the scary monster himself. There might be spiders under there. Or maybe you have allergies to dust. You can’t see what shape change is so it is easier to continue living as a slave.
The Israelites grumbled and complained about their situation. Now I can be pretty sure that after spending their whole lives as slaves grumbling and complaining was a daily occurrence for them. The problem is while they were physically free from their previous masters, they still remained in slavery. Slavery for example to grumbling and complaining. Because as long as they were grumbling and complaining they were focused on themselves and how impotent they were rather than focusing on the power of God.
True freedom is found not in living according to our plan, but in giving up our plan and living Gods. But too often just like the Israelites we would rather remain in slavery than die the death to self. But true peace and joy only abides in humility. A humility that dies to self and lives for God. A humility that seeks a power outside our own. A humility that seeks a wisdom outside our own. A humility that is willing to give up grumbling and complaining and be joyful in all situations.
The problem is we want to hold onto our ‘right’ to grumble and complain. After all if we have been treated unfairly or life hasn’t happened quite like we thought it should, then we want to retain our ‘right’ to grumble and complain. But grumbling and complaining keep us just as enslaved as the Israelites were when in bondage to the Egyptians because grumbling and complaining exalts not God, but us and our idea of how life should be treating us.
Do you really want to live in the promised land of peace and joy? Then ask for humility, because only humility gives us the freedom to live the peace and joy that exists in heaven on this earth.