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What an array of emotions and attitudes we see in this short section of scripture. The children of Israel are again living up to the role of “children.” They whine about the walk and drop any semblance of gratitude they used to feel to the Lord for rescuing them out of Egypt. This brings to mind the whining they did in Numbers 11 when they began longing for the food they used to have while in captivity (seemingly forgetting that they ate that food … while in captivity). Their whining, born of ingratitude and discontentment, led to anger and a rebellious plot to overthrow Moses, choose another leader, and head back to Egypt. And what will be the result for them? Though He uses different words than we do today, God pretty much coins the phrase here, “You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about.” Those silly children. Not only are they going to continue walking, it’s now been extended to forty years. And the oldest among them, who should have set a better example, will now do exactly what they had whined about initially—they will die in the desert without ever entering the Promised Land.
Contrast that with the optimistic, encouraging, faith-fueled words of Aaron and Caleb. Though twelve spies had gone in to explore the land, only these two brought back a good report. And now they are trying their best to impart that optimism to the crowd.
They didn’t succeed, of course. But God rewarded them for being two small voices against a mob. Of the adults, they alone will enter the Promised Land.
All day every day, we get to choose how we view the world. We can default to grumbling, complaining and whining, or we can decide to remember that God is on the throne and He has all the power we need for that day. We are blessed beyond measure! And we are heading to a glorious place, the place Jesus promised us. So what ones it matter if we face a little inconvenience now and then?
I often told my children while they were growing up, “You get to choose what kind of person you’re going to be. Are you going to be someone who others are delighted to see walk in the room, or someone they’re delighted to see walk out?”
If your usual response to inconvenience is a pleasant attitude and words of faith, good job. Kept that going. If not, take heart. Today is a great day to choose differently.