Read Psalm 78:17–25
They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.Psalm 78:18
Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken tells the incredible World War II survival story of Louis Zamperini. Before their capture by Japanese soldiers, Louis and two other American soldiers survived a plane crash into the Pacific Ocean. Forty-seven days they drifted—with only rainwater to drink and the rare baited albatross to eat. One of Zamperini’s companions didn’t survive: he drifted in and out of lucidity for many days, his hunger and thirst nearly driving him mad before his eventual death.
Few of us really know the torment of starvation and dehydration. So before we accuse the Israelites for their lack of faith, it’s necessary to remember their dire circumstances. There was no food to eat or to feed their children, and there were still many hundreds of miles of journey stretching ahead. Perhaps it should have been obvious to them that God would provide and they only needed to ask, but it wasn’t. Though He had already proven His miraculous care by drawing water from a rock, though His provision had not ever been meager, still they fell into the perennial temptation that assails many of us today: they could not trust.
E. M. Bounds wrote, “Trust always operates in the present tense. Hope looks toward the future.” And both trust and hope require a vision for perceiving realities beyond our present deficits. In the wilderness, the Israelites could only see a barren landscape: “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?” (v. 19). It was their spiritual imagination that failed them. They could not perceive the invisible realities of God and His vast resources. They could not lay hold of His goodness and protective nature. Instead, they chose disbelief, which manifested itself in arrogant accusations against the character of God.
Apply the Word
We’ve seen how our temptations can occur in an area of need (March 8). What do you chronically worry about? Bills? Your children? Health concerns? Satan always inflates the perceived proportions of our struggles to obscure our view of God. Pray that your problems would shrink to their proper size, and your vision of God grow infinitely bigger.
Pray with Us
We thank God for their dedicated day-to-day service at Betel Church.