As bad as my memory is, I hope it is not as bad as that of Israel during the Exodus. Something struck me Sunday night during small group that I had never thought about in this way before. I told them that this was going to be a blog entry, and here it is. Exodus 15 tells of Israel celebrating God’s destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. Moses leads the song of victory, the original “song of Moses” in Exodus 15:1-18. Then his sister Miriam (called “a prophetess”) led the women in singing and dance before the Lord. Her song is in verse 21, “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.”
Now here is the memory problem. The next verses (Exodus 15:22-24) begins the story of Israel moving from the Read Sea to Sinai, and it says this—
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is
why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying,
“What are we to drink?”
Right after Israel sings praise to God for delivering them by drowning the Egyptians in the Red Sea they begin to complain because they have no water. They go from celebrating the God who used water to destroy their enemies to complaining that God didn't have enough water to give them a drink. And it is not just soon after the Red Sea that they complain—it is the very next verse. They go from praising the God of the waters to complaining they have no water.
How could they be so forgetful? If God can drown their enemies, do they not believe that he can give them a drink when they needed it? One verse separates their praise from their protest! But then I can remember some times when the period of time between thanking God for the food and complaining about what we had to eat was pretty short. Or times we the period between praising God in church and complaining about how it was conducted was pretty short. Maybe our spiritual memory isn’t a lot better than that of the Israelites. But I think we can do better.