Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Great Veggie War of 2016

In the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, there were fine flakes on the desert surface, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they asked one another, “What is it?” because they didn’t know what it was...The house of Israel named the substance manna. It resembled coriander seed, was white, and tasted like wafers made with honey... The Israelites ate manna for 40 years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate manna until they reached the border of the land of Canaan. 
Exodus 16:13b-15, 31 & 35

Over the last few weeks my wife and I have been fighting The Great Veggie War of 2016. We've been knee deep in concocting ways to coax our three year old to choke down asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas. We tried punishing her when she didn't eat her veggies. That only made us feel like terrible parents. We tried convincing her that the veggies were yummy. She saw right through that one. Didn't even come close! We tried adding cheese to any and every veggie that crossed her plate. That one helped a little. But most days she cried and fussed like we were force-feeding her radioactive waste.

Don't laugh though. The truth is that most of us aren't any better as adults. How well do you do at eating things you don't like? Most of us aren't too good at it. (Side note- this is a good place to start when considering why our diets always fail.)

Well just imagine eating the same thing for forty years. That's what the Israelites did while wandering in the desert. Every meal, every day consisted of manna and water. Sure, you may get some quail every now and then, but for the most part for forty years your only food is bread and water. Never mind that these were provided miraculously by God for millions of people in the middle of the desert. Many of us would quickly lose sight of that. Bread and water is prison food. In fact, we feed our prisoners better than that these days!

Would you grumble? Do you grumble about what God provides for you?

Let's circle back to that. Let's ask this question first: What does this teach us about God? There is no denying that God is much more interested in accomplishing His purposes in your life and through your life than He is interested in changing His plans to meet your wants and needs. Notice, God's ultimate plan for His people was a land flowing with milk and honey. His plan would lead them to abundant blessing, but there wasn't abundant blessing all along the way. First they had to learn to trust Him. They even went three days without finding water once (Exodus 15:22-27). Talk about trusting the Lord! 

Also, it should not escape our attention that it was the Israel's sin that prevented them from receiving God's desired blessing for them (the Promised Land) sooner. They wouldn't have suffered in the desert for forty years if they had obeyed God and trusted Him.

So again I ask, do you grumble about what God has given you? Are you ungrateful? Do you compare it to what God has given someone else, or to what you used to have? Are you like a small child whining and crying about what God is making you do? Even if we never do it out loud, even if it is only in our hearts, many of us are this way. When you feel this way, remember that just like my wife and I with my daughter; God's plan is ultimately for your good even if you can't see it. God has abundant blessing planned for all those who believe on Jesus. Trust Him. Obey Him. And do so with a grateful heart for such a loving Father.

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