Our soul loathes this worthless bread

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died (Numbers 21:4-6).

God provided manna, bread from heaven, for the children of Israel. Every day was a miracle. Their food was miraculously provided for 40 years. Do the math. 6 days a week (extra manna provided on Friday for the Sabbath day) for 40 years. That’s a myriad miracles, and a gazillion tons of manna. They called it “worthless.” On top of that they said, “our soul loathes” it.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 10 yesterday where Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians about the Israelites in the wilderness. The sins they committed were recorded for us as examples, Paul explained, so that we do not repeat them. One of those sins Paul specified was complaining.

It just reminded me of how serious God takes complaining. If you haven’t done this lately, look through the Bible and do some word searches for words like grumbling, murmuring and complaining. See what God says about it. Look at the consequences. Lots of people died at God’s own hand because of it.

Our soul loathes this worthless bread

So, here we are, living under Christ, walking in His grace, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 to remember how God views complaining. It is still a serious thing to God, just as serious as sexual immorality and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). Sometimes we are tempted to think that the big sins are sexual immorality and murder, but complaining is just a little sin. We would be well served to take a walk through Exodus through Deuteronomy with the children of Israel to refresh our memories of God’s view of complaining.

Today, let us take a moment to thank God.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

If we recognize that we are living an ungrateful life, and have a complaining spirit, we should get down on our knees and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy. We also should ask the Lord to teach us to be more thankful. May God help our hearts to be content, and may our words express that daily. It is helpful for us to take regular inventory of how richly God has blessed us. That old song still rings true, “Count your many blessings.”

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2).

Worthless Physicians

But you forgers of lies, you are all worthless physicians. Oh, that you would be silent, and it would be your wisdom! (Job 13:4-5)

 Job’s three “friends” came to him after he had suffered catastrophic and devastating loss in every area of his life. They began to accuse him of what was wrong and why he was suffering. They also had the answers for how to fix all his problems, which were based on the wrong assumptions about why he was suffering. They did everything but help Job at his lowest point and darkest hour.

Job called them worthless doctors. Later in Job 16:1-2, he called them “miserable comforters.”

What would make a physician worthless? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Wrong assumptions. When a doctor comes in and already has you and your situation pegged before he walks in the door, he isn’t really going to listen to you. He began with the wrong assumptions and built his case on the wrong information.
  2. Incorrect diagnosis. Because he did not listen to you, nor did he ask the right questions, it will be impossible for him to correctly diagnose what’s wrong with you.
  3. Wrong medicine. How on earth could a doctor prescribe the right medicine when he began with the wrong assumptions and incorrectly diagnosed your condition? In fact, the medicine he would prescribe on this basis may make your condition worse. You might even die.

Is it possible that you and I are “worthless physicians” and “miserable comforters”?

  • How often do we have our Christian brothers and sisters pegged and put in a box before we even talk to them?
  • When someone is going through a difficult time, how well do we actually listen to his or her story?
  • Are we already thinking of what to say?
  • Are we standing aloof in judgment of how they are not handling this the way “we think” they should handle it?

Consider what Job said in response to his friends in chapter 16. Job knew the difference between what a person could say and what a person should say.

“I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain” (Job 16:4-5).

Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. At least Job’s friends got that right for the first seven days they were with him. They opened their mouth and removed all doubt as to what kind of friends they were.

Today, seek to listen. Seek to understand. Seek to ask questions and truly be engaged while someone is talking. Seek to cast out preconceived notions about a brother and what you would do to fix his problems (James 1:19).