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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"But the People Grew Impatient..."

Patience.

Ah, that illusive trait. I do not posses it naturally. You? I try. I really do. Most days, anyway. And I'm successful. Most days, anyway. I'm a much more patient person than I used to be, thankfully. I've even been praised by my (former) elderly clients and their families for being so incredibly patient and understanding. Friends would tell me I was a patient mother when my kids were growing up. My kids, bless 'em, knew otherwise. Hubby too.

Now, with all the rich wisdom that comes with age and time, I look back and wonder why was I such an impatient person? Why would I get angry if things didn't happen the moment I thought they should? Why was I in such a rush for this or that?

I'm reading through the Old Testament right now. I'm in the Book of Numbers. If you're not familiar with the Old Testament, it's the story of God's people, the Israelites. It's about their roots, their escape from Egypt where they were enslaved, and their journey to the land God promised to give them. And in reading their story, you can't help but come to one firm conclusion:

The Israelites were some of THE most impatient people ever created! 

Just today, I read Chapter 21. They're headed to the Promised Land. God has delivered them from Pharaoh in a spectacular way, with plagues and clouds of fire and a sea actually parting so they could walk through on dry land. He's provided food when they whined about hunger. He provided water in a dry and dusty desert. Most recently, He gave them victory over their enemies. Look what verses 1-3 say:

"When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this vow to the LORD: "If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities." The LORD listened to Israel's plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns."

A little backstory to understand what's going on: God commanded the Israelites not to accept the gods in the lands they came into. So, when the Israelites defeated the Canaanites, they had to destroy everything because of the pagan gods and the pagan worship that had taken place in those cities.

God answered their prayers. Again. He delivered them from their enemies. Again. You would think they'd be the most grateful people on earth, right?

Wrong. Here are verses 4 -5:

"They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient along the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food."

The people grew impatient. Wow.

Are you waiting for something God has promised you? Do you feel like you're wandering in the desert? Trust me, I'm right there with you. And I've been more like the Israelites at times than I care to admit. If you keep reading in Numbers 21:6 you see that God didn't put up with their childish temper tantrum. He sent venomous snakes among them. Eeek!

The old saying is true: Patience is a virtue. And virtue is better than venom any day! I think I'll be patient today. You?
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This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Mexico, Sweden

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