Weaning dependency from government entitlements proves difficult even for God
So they complained to Moses by saying, “Give us water to drink!” Moses said to them, “Why are you complaining to me? Why are you testing the Lord?” But the people were thirsty for water there. They complained to Moses and asked, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Was it to make us, our children, and our livestock die of thirst?” Exodus 17:2-3 (GW)
Moses had led the children out of the tyrannical clutches of the Pharaoh of Egypt, by a miraculous deliverance by the hand of God, and yet the people complained about their newly found independence from Egyptian slavery. In fact it would appear from their complaints they would prefer continued slavery at the hands of their Egyptian slave-masters then independence. Why would they prefer to be treated as slaves than to be free to chart their own course, and live a life independent of slavery?
By analyzing the Israelite’s complaints we can see the root of the problem. The Israelites had become accustomed to government hand-outs, they were unable to wrap their faith around God’s ability to provide for their daily provisions. They had grown accustomed to daily provisions they could rely on. Although these provisions came at the cost of their personal freedom, it appeared they valued the government provisions more than their own independence. Personal freedom, although prayed for daily, was not really what they sought. God’s people cried day and night at the harsh treatment they were receiving under Pharaoh and wished to be delivered from it. God sent Moses to do just that and what does he get for the trouble? Personal attacks from the people he was sent by God to free.
Freeing a people from years of bondage is not an easy task. Those assigned the task of facilitating that deliverance will be viciously attacked personally in their efforts to rescue those bound by the chains of slavery. Those who have been bound for many years grow accustomed to their bondage and the thoughts of freedom frighten them. In fact they will fight against any attempt to save them. There is comfort in the familiar, even if the familiar means living under constant berating and harsh conditions. Although they cried for relief, they did not want deliverance from the daily provisions, just from the harsh provider of those provisions.
In fact what the people really wanted was a change of leadership into someone who would give them their daily provisions and not treat them so badly. They desired for new management and not complete independence. Being free to chart their own course was not what the people truly desired. It would appear from their complaints that they wanted the hand-outs, but did not want the abuse that accompanied the hand-outs. Not once in their complaints directed toward Moses did they thank him for rescuing them from the wicked Pharaoh. Not once did they acknowledge the hand of God in their escape from Egyptian bondage. Not once did they acknowledge their constant cries to God for deliverance. Not once did the words “thank you” cross their lips.
We can not constantly complain and be grateful at the same time. We either are expressing our thanks to God or we are expressing our displeasure with him. Moses knew the people’s complaints where not for him directly but were directed toward God. Moses was the person God used to work through, but ultimately it was God’s plan Moses was implementing. He had been given the instructions from God how to lead the people from Egypt into Canaan. He was following the Lord’s leading, in fact all the people could see the presence of the Lord with them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Therefore a complaint against Moses was a complaint leveled against God.
Government provisions, although attached to a myriad of strings, are comforting to those who lack faith in God. In fact they prefer slavery because it requires the least amount of effort on their part. Take another look at Exodus 16 verse 3 where the people complained for food and said while they were in Egypt they “sat” around the flesh pots and ate all they wanted. They did not have to prepare it or even earn it all they had to do was show up and partake. In today’s vernacular one only has to cash a government issued check to eat.
Their constant complaining and “testing” of God cost them their true destiny. They were forbidden from entering into the land of promise God made to them.
For 40 years I was disgusted with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray; they do not know My ways.” So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.” Psalms 95:10-11 (HCSB)
Following the Lord leads to true personal freedom, but few can truly follow Him. The lure of the world and this world’s riches has caused many to go astray. The empty promises of government provisions leaves many faithless. I do not know what I would have done if faced with the same circumstances as the Egyptian Jews, but it is reasonable to assume that the possibility exists that I would respond in much the same way as they did. We too can become so accustomed to our bondage that we fight against God who desires to free us from all entanglements of the world. When we allow ourselves to become accustomed to the ways of this world, we grow increasingly insensitive to God’s ways. Allowing government to take the place of God as our provider and care-giver, eventually leads to total abandonment from God. He does not remove himself from us but we remove ourselves from him.
We need to guard against this truism because the Pharaohs of today are behaving much the same as the Pharaoh of Egypt did. He wanted to defeat the Israelites and forbid them from worshipping God. His treatment of them was brutal and intent on breaking their wills and making them compliant to Pharaoh’s plans and goals. He desired that they worshipped him and look to him as their provider and care-giver. Ultimately he desired for total surrender to him and to look to him instead of God. In actuality he desired to be god.
The second beast forces all people important and unimportant people, rich and poor people, free people and slaves to be branded on their right hands or on their foreheads. It does this so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the brand, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name. Revelation 13:16-17 (GW)
There has been a growing discontent among the populace of the American people for change. They have cried for new, less oppressive, leadership but never-the-less they still want government intervention in their lives. Every time true change is proposed the people revolt and rail against those who are attempting to free the population from government control and regulation. Just like they did against Moses, the people would rather keep on getting their government entitlements then be set free to achieve true liberty. All they really seem to be saying is give us slavery but pick for us a better slave-master.
Beware, the deception of the enemy is to make you doubt God’s ability to deliver and provide for your every need. Although God has proven himself time and time again, it is the goal of the modern-day Pharaoh to get you to hate God and His ways. Be warned that every time you cry out for the flesh pots of Egypt you question God’s leadership in your life. Every time you turn back toward the world you turn your back on God’s leading. In the end this kind of thinking will doom you to an eternity apart from God.
God is seeking your well-fare for which the government substitutes welfare. God seeks your best, the government insists on your failing so that it can continue to be your source. God seeks to enable you to achieve greatness, the government strives endlessly to bring about your demise. In the end there is only one who seeks your well-fare and that is God not the government. Choose than which you would rather serve, God or Mammon. God or the government. Jesus or the Pharaoh. The choice is all yours. Choose wisely for the wrong choice has eternal consequences.
Along for the journey
- Grumblers in the Desert (fullygrown.wordpress.com)
- Redemption From Bondage. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Lord, Forgive Me When I Whine – Numbers 11:10 (dianneguthmuller.com)