READ: Exodus 16-17
THINK: Do you ever wish that God would give you advanced notice regarding the events of your life-particularly the difficulties you are about to face? Well, maybe not. If you knew what was coming it would be too easy to become distracted-or intimidated-by what lies ahead. The fact is, God gives only as much notice as is necessary to keep your trust and dependence on Him. That's when you are strongest, despite your weakness. So don't complain when things don't go as planned or when you don't understand what is happening. Complaining only puts your focus on the problem rather than the opportunities. On the other hand, prayer gives faith a chance to rise. God responds positively to our prayers, not our complaints.
RESPOND: In what way was the people's attitude surprising? (See 16:2 note.) Why do people-even those who know God-tend to complain so quickly when times get tough? Like the Israelites, what do people tend to forget during such times? Why are we often quick to forget what God has done for us, while tending to return to things that have tempted and troubled us in the past? Who were the people really grumbling against? In what way does complaining show a lack of faith in God? Why did God give such specific instructions regarding the manna? (See 16:4 second note.) Why were they supposed to gather only enough for each day? (See 16:26 note.) In what ways did the Israelites "put the LORD to the test" (17:7)? What did the rock of 17:6 symbolize, and how does this link Old Testament Israelites with New Testament Christians? (See 17:6 note.) Who was Joshua, and how was God preparing him for the future? (See 17:9 note.) What was significant about Moses keeping his hands raised while the Israelites were fighting the battle, and what spiritual principle can we learn from this? (See 17:11 note.)
PRAY: Take time to pray for some things that you've tended to complain about lately.
ACT: We all have a tendency to complain about those in authority, whether parents, teachers, or pastors. But rather than complaining about your leaders, make every effort to support and pray for them. In fact, whenever you catch yourself complaining (or about to complain) today, take a moment instead to pray about the issue or the people involved. At the end of the day, do your best to remember the day's blessings and forget the day's troubles.
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