“‘We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!'” – Numbers 11:5-6
In the last blog post, I shared about the time period of when God calls us out of a season that’s not His will—or is no longer His will—but where we haven’t reached all that we know God has for us. I called this period of time waiting between the no and the not yet.
In this posting, I want to talk about how not to act during this time of waiting. While I mentioned in the last post that I did commend the Israelites for their act of waiting in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land (see Numbers 9:19-23), that’s one of the only good things to say about the Israelite community at large during this time period of their history. Just a few chapters later, we see that while they were in the desert, they started to complain against where God had brought them this far and what had He provided for them.
God had graciously provided them with manna—enough good food for what they needed during this time. However, we see starting in Numbers 11:4 that the Israelites start complaining about this provision from God. They “began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat!'” (vs. 4). And then it got worse. After everything the Lord had brought them through, and all the battles He had won for them, and all His acts of power and strength to bring them to where they were at now, they started remembering their life back in Egypt as slaves, and as we see in upcoming chapters, they actually wanted to turn around and go back to Egypt—the very place God rescued them out of!
Furthermore, over the next couple of chapters, their attitudes get even worse. They went from complain about the wilderness to complaining against their God-ordained leader, to outright doubting the promise that God would bring them into the land that He had delivered them for and promised to them.
Friends, this is a good example of how not to act in your season of waiting.
If you find yourself in the season of between no and not yet, take some pointers from the Israelites.
#1: Don’t complain about where you are or what you have. We are often so tempted to complain about where we are because we’re not where we want to be yet. Complaining will not get you anywhere faster. If anything, it will keep you in the season of waiting for longer. Due to the Israelites disobedience, just about all of the adults died in their season of waiting and never entered the Promised Land. For the very few who were allowed to enter, they had to wait 40 years until the rest of them died until they could enter into God’s good and perfect plan for their lives. God hates complaining. He is sovereign and knows all you need, and He sees you right where you are. Don’t complain.
#2. Don’t long for Egypt. Don’t look back at the place where God has called you from because you’re not at the place where He has you going. He has called you out from that season for a reason. Don’t look back and regret or long for that place. Trust that His plan of bringing you into His good purposes will be brought to completion if we wait in His perfect timing.
#3. Don’t doubt what God has promised you. God had told Moses to send out twelve spies to check out the land that He had promised them (Numbers 13:1-3). When the spies went into the land, 10 of them came back with a bad report: “They spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:32, 33). But yet, the same God who sent plagues on Egypt to let the Israelites out of Egypt, who parted the Red Sea, who provided them a way to have fellowship and meeting with Him through sacrifices and the Tabernacle, and the one who promised them this land, this same God was more than able to bring them into the land they had promised, yet they doubted that. But do you ever feel like this? As though God is unable to bring you into all He has for you? Be encouraged by this: God does what He says, and if you’ll listen and obey Him, He’ll bring you to all He has for you. Whenever you’re tempted to doubt, remember who God is, what He has done, and look to the Scriptures for His promises to speak over your life and situation.
These are just a few lessons we can learn about how to wait from the Israelites in their season of transition. Remember, seasons of waiting aren’t seasons of doing nothing. Actively seek God, listen to Him, and follow His instructions. Praise Him, thank Him, and trust Him. And His plan for your life will come to completion. He is faithful, guys.
We’ll talk soon 🙂