How Will You Be Remembered?

Bible Reading: Numbers 26

This marks the end of the generation of desert wanderers, whose lives seem to be characterized by discontentment, fear and grumbling. They always wanted what they didn't have and failed to appreciate what they had. They cried out to God for deliverance from bondage in Egypt, yet after God delivered them, they longed for the comforts and pleasures they left behind. God showed his power and protection in miraculous ways, through the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, etc. Every day, they saw God's visible presence and guidance in the pillar of cloud and fire, and experienced his provision of food with manna from heaven. God even miraculously kept their clothing and sandals from wearing out, and their feet from swelling (Deut. 29:5; Neh. 9:21). Every need was provided. Yet, they took God's care for granted, would not trust in his power and protection, and continually grumbled and complained. These "grumbling Israelites" became known as a "stiff-necked people" (Num. 14:27; Ex. 32:9; 33:3,5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6,13).

It is easy to stand in judgment of these Israelites but, if I had to wander around a desert for 40 years, I wonder how much more loudly I would complain to God and to everyone around me. I am often just like them. I fail to recognize God working in my life and his provision of my daily needs. I focus on what causes me pain and discomfort, failing to see all the blessings and comforts that already fill my life. I have everything I need, but I want more. I know God is trustworthy and powerful, but I still doubt, worry and fear. I complain and grumble about many things, allowing my negative attitude to spread discouragement and discontentment among my friends, my family, and my church.

May my life be different from this generation of Israelites. Instead of wandering aimlessly through life, worrying and complaining about this and that, may I march purposefully forward, wholeheartedly following God's direction and boldly believing in his love and power. May I speak faithfully of God's provision and protection. When my successors remember me after I'm gone, may they picture a life characterized by faith, love, joy, grace and peace, regardless of the situations that life presents.