We have three kids. It is very easy to get impatient with them.
They were picking on each other, being mean, complaining, whining, fussing… like kids do. And that’s just two of them – the third is a baby. He just cries, but it’s not really his fault, right?
Anyway, I started this Bible study 4 years ago. You go through the Bible one book per week for 3 years to complete it. Yes, 3 years to complete it. Why have I been doing it for 4 years? Because I felt like I needed to start over. Mainly because of Moses. He’s my man.
We have three kids. Moses led a group of millions of whining, complaining Israelites. We’ve had these kids for 6 years. (the oldest) Moses led those people for over 40 years. Complaining. No wonder he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. I would have flipped a lid. At the first mention of “We were better off in Egypt!”, I would have said, “Great. Head on back. Have fun with that.”
And what did Moses get for it? With one slip – taking things into his own hands, demonstrating his frustration with the people of Israel by striking a rock instead of speaking to it like God commanded, he was voted out. No Promised Land for you.
I would have been right there with you, Moses.
Then, in thinking about the “great” men of the Old Testament, I started thinking… These men were all called to do these great things. They are remembered as the “big men” of Scripture. But they were all called to do jobs that were not glorious, not fun, a lot of work, full of complaints, dirty and without much gratitude from the people they were serving. (Though we make them out to be glorious heroes, and we make feature films out of them.)
Moses: Millions of dirty, exhausted, beaten-down Israelites. Ungrateful. Idolatrous at times. Complaining. 40 years. In the middle of the wilderness.
Noah: Surrounded by wicked people. Unrepentant. Physical labor building the largest boat known to man at the time. Exhausting. With no applause.
Jonah: Sent to speak to an evil enemy nation. Miles and miles from home. Traveling in the dust. Disobeying. Getting swallowed by a big fish. Not fun. No applause.
David: Pursued by Saul who wanted to end his life. Fighting giants. Endless battles…
… on and on. These are the Biblical greats. All called to hard, endless, dirty, thankless jobs. God didn’t call them to these jobs because they were good at them, or because they were great, great men. He just called them.
And he called me to be a mom to these 3 children. And be patient with them. And serve them, even when they’re fussy. Even when they don’t like the manna and quail (so to speak) that I put on the table. Even when they wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or hit each other, or whine, or wet the bed, or spill stuff… this is the job that I’ve been given. The job that I wanted.
So… I’ll be starting my 5th year of this Bible study in a few weeks. :-) Bring on the prophets! God’s proof of his patience with us, over and over and over. And a reminder of the patience I need to have when serving the little “nation” that has been entrusted to me.