When we compare the magnitude of the things that God did in the lives of the Israelites, to how they responded to His mercies and love, there is one word that sums up their behavior; ingratitude. As Christians if we don’t pay heed, it is easy to become ungrateful towards God and even the things He has lavishly blessed us with, without noticing it because it starts in the heart. Eventually, it manifests itself in murmuring, complaining, jealousy, disrespect, familiarity and other un-Christ like behaviors. Honestly, there are days and sometimes seasons when we are just like the Israelites and plain ungrateful to God. Unfortunately, it was their spirit of ingratitude that caused them to wander in the wilderness where they were only supposed to be for 40 days, for 40 years. Has your ingratitude towards God kept you from your own promised land?
Have you forgotten so soon how much you cried and prayed night and day for God to give you the gift of a child? Why then do you see that same child as a nuisance or as useless just because you are experiencing difficulties raising them? Isn’t that the same child you prayed for? Have you forgotten so soon, how you pleaded for God to let the cup of the toxic relationship you were in to pass you by? Why then do you want to go back to the same person who verbally, emotionally, physically and even sexually abused you, just because you are feeling “lonely” or because you are afraid they will be with someone else? Why do you keep looking back at Egypt that treated you so poorly when God has promised you Canaan – a land flowing with milk and honey you didn’t have to work for? Have you forgotten so soon when you used to vow that you would do anything just to be out of those captive-making addictions? Why then do you want to go back to the same environment and friends God took you away from to help you overcome those addictions? Have you forgotten so soon how you will call your Pastor or leader every minute to pray for you so you can get a job, beloved, breakthrough, salvation for a relative or healing? Now, you don’t pick up your phone when they call and you have been disrespectful to them when they speak with you. Have you forgotten so soon when you stood before man and God and promised each other, “for better for worse, for richer and for poorer”? Why then do you see it convenient to check out when it is worse when that person was the one who stuck with you through all the good and bad times? Why do you take your vows lightly and find yourself in the arms of another person whom you now claim you should have married in the first place?
Why are you so ungrateful?
God wrought many mighty miracles on behalf of the Israelites yet each time they encountered a challenge, they would simply forget what God had done for them. Right before they entered the promised land God said to them, “And thou shalt REMEMBER all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or not” [Deuteronomy 8:2]. Unfortunately, the children of Israel had an extreme case of forgetfulness – they forgot all the things God had done for them, but remembered all the “good” things they had seemingly enjoyed in the land of their oppressors. That is how some of us are; we are so quick to forget the things we ought to remember and remember the things we ought not to. Instead of forgetting what is behind and pressing towards the mark of the high calling, we forget to press towards the mark of the high calling and remember what is behind us from Egypt. This is what led the Israelites to ask Samuel and God to give them a king so they would be just like the other nations when they entered into the promised land. Wait, wasn’t God their king all this while – which human being had come to their rescue like God had from when He led them out of Egypt? You too, why are you being ungrateful by replacing the Lordship of Christ in your life with other idols after he translated you from the kingdom of darkness to His Kingdom by his precious blood. Now that you have a job, a car, a beloved, spouse, money and that you think you need, church has become a distant memory to you, when it once used to be your sleeping place. Now you don’t have time to even pray or read your Bible to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. You have become too cool to lift your hands in worship because your new cool friends are around. You just can’t pay tithe because it is too much money to give to God and yet you can spend that “too much money” on things which does not benefit you spiritually or eternally. Yes, you have entered into your Promised Land and soon forgot about God.
What you failed to read in the Bible (because you are too busy) is that even in the Promised Land there is more to be attained and getting there is not the final destination. The children of Israel had to learn it the hard way by being conquered by nations around them who didn’t even have God as their God. It was not enough to get into the Promised Land; they needed peace and they needed to enter into the rest of God. Ingratitude will cause you to be in the wilderness for 40 years when you only need to be there for 40 days and it will cause you to not be fulfilled even with the abundance of things around you. Get rid of it by remembering what God has done for you and by giving thanks each day and in all things [ 2 Thessalonians 5:18].