February 03, 2009

Grumbling, Glory, and Grace

Exodus 16:1-18

“What is it?” … “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.”
Exodus 16:15


The Israelites had just been released from slavery in Egypt. What cause for great joy! But the last echo of their joy had barely faded before they began grumbling.

So at the Lord’s direction Moses and Aaron told them, “In the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him.”

What did this mean? In a way, it sounds more like a threat than a promise, doesn’t it? Would God’s glory come in judgment? Would the people get a tongue lashing or some other punishment? Would it mean death?

No, none of that. The glory of the Lord came in a desert cloud! God’s glory came with provisions—moonlight meat and morning manna. Now isn’t that amazing? Israel’s grumbling called forth grace. The greatest display, though certainly not the only display, of God’s glory was his amazing grace. He could have sent a plague (which he did later). He could have invented duct tape and stifled their whining mouths. He could have hurled hard dinner rolls like hail on their heads. But no. God quietly spread a layer of frosty food on the ground, and Moses told the people, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.”

Many of God’s blessings come to us softly, gently—in the midst of our grumbling. Do we recognize those secret, hidden signs of God’s grace to us?

God of all grace, we so often grumble and complain like the people of Israel. We ask today for your grace to quiet our grumbling spirits. Help us to turn to you. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!