Numbers 11-13, Psalm 43
We so often take God for granted. When applying to medical school, so many pray that they will get into any American medical school so that their dreams of becoming a doctor will come true. Then when they get into their fourth or fifth choice of medical school they are dissatisfied that they didn't get their first choice and rather than being thankful, they are thankless. How many unemployed pray to God for any job so that they can provide for their family, only to get a job then feel they should be in a better job. How many pray for a spouse, only to be given one, then thanklessly feel they could do better. Do we approach God in a spirit of thankfulness or expectation and entitlement? In Luke 17:11-19, we read the account when Jesus healed the ten lepers. We read in Luke 17:15-18, "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"
When the people were hungry and complained to God, He lovingly provided them manna from heaven to sustain them. We read in Numbers 11:5-6, "We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!" Not only is their memory incorrect, they were being brutally treated as slaves in Egypt, but they were showing no gratitude for God's miraculous provision. We read a little further in Numbers 11:18-20, "Then you shall say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the Lord will give you meat to eat...because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?" It's amazing how we get so disappointed when we are not recognized for our trinket gestures when we do something nice for another, yet our God who literally gives us the breath in our lungs often gets ignored. This is not just a struggle for the average individual. We next read the account of the High Priest, Aaron, and his sister, the prophetess, Miriam, the siblings of Moses. We read in Numbers 12:2-3, "So they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?" And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)" We shouldn't be surprised when those least thankful arise from our own families.
Every day, we get up with breath in our lungs. Often we will see the sunrise on another day where God provides our every need: food, shelter, companionship, most importantly, Himself. Have we come to expect this? Do we believe we are entitled to this? If we step back and just take a minute to reflect at how intricate our lives and our world is, and that He actually allows us to live in it and enjoy it, we should all be moved into a spirit of thankfulness. We deserve and have earned none of this. Every single bit of it is a gift from our Father. If this is not enough, for those of us who have accepted the free offer of salvation extended by Jesus, which He accomplished completely on the cross, due to no effort on our part, we actually get the privilege of one day going someplace even better, heaven. We should all be calloused on our hands, knees, and face at all that God has provided for us, his oftentimes thankless recipients of His grace and mercy. Let us all spend some time reflecting daily, and thank Him daily, for all that He has lovingly provided for us.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: