August 30, 2015: Change Is Hard

Posted on : Aug 27th, 2015 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

There is an old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” What that usually means is, “People are never satisfied with their own situation; they always think others have it better or their lives can be better only if…”

Those words certainly describe the experience we as God’s people encounter often in our lives.

This Sunday in our journey with God through the Exodus we encounter a grumpy, angry group of people who wish they were back in Egypt as slaves rather than being on this journey to a new and better life.

How soon we and they forget! These folks are only two and half months into this journey which, much to their surprise, is going to last most of their life time, when they lose hope and wish they could go back to their old way of life.

This story is a great example of how fear, frustration and anger can quickly change our perception of reality. According to the biblical text, the Hebrew people were enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years. Of those 430 years, the last years were the worst. Remember before the series of plagues began, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he made the slaves work even harder, taking away the straw that they used in making bricks but not reducing their quota by even one brick. Then they lived through the period of the great plagues. The Israelites were finally set free only to find themselves up against the waters of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army quickly closing in on them. God leads the people safely through the waters and stops the Egyptians “dead in their tracks.”

The people of God are finally free and on their way to a new land. A land that God has promised them will be filled with peace and prosperity; a land flowing with “milk and honey.” What they didn’t know was how long it was going to take to reach this new place or how hard it was going to be to get there!

So only 2½ months into the journey, they wished they were back in Egypt as slaves. As is true with us today, their memories of what their situation was, weren’t quite accurate. They were in a hard place in their lives. They were in the wilderness and didn’t have enough food to eat. It seemed certain that they were going to die of starvation. So in anger and frustration, they lash out at Moses and Aaron saying, “If only we had died by the hand of God in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

This story is a great example of the tension we so often experience in our faith and in our lives. We really want something new, until we experience how difficult it is to change. Change is hard. Sometimes very hard.

This Sunday we will look at why that is, and how God is present with us in the midst of change even when we’re ready to give up.

Blessings!

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Exodus 16: 1-15

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of God in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’

Then God said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’ So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you shall know that it was our God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of our God, because God has heard your complaining. For what are we, that you complain against us?’ And Moses said, ‘When God gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because God has heard the complaining that you utter—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against God.’

Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to God, for God has heard your complaining.” ’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of God appeared in the cloud. God spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am your God.” ’

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that God has given you to eat.

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