“It is eleven days from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.” (Deuteronomy 1:2) Then why did it take the Israelites forty years? 1,309 times longer than it should have?
They complained. There were always griping about not having the food they used to have in Egypt. Pots of meat, bread to the full (Exodus 16:3), free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (Numbers 11:5). They forgot that while the fish were free, they were not. They griped about lack of water, about Moses, about being led into the wilderness to die.
Complaining is looking back or looking around and focusing on what was lost or what is missing instead of seeing God’s opportunities in the present and the future. Complaining is a choice we make to see lack instead of provision; it’s a choice we make to not be grateful and appreciative.
They looked back instead of ahead to the possibilities of God. As soon as their stomachs started to growl, they forgot how oppressed they were and how cruelly they were treated in Egypt. The growling of their stomachs was louder than their memory of the growling of their former taskmasters.
They didn’t believe God when He said He would “deliver them from the power of the Egyptians and bring them to a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). They didn’t believe God would or could deliver. They didn’t believe His promises.
They focused on the size of the enemy instead of on the richness of the land and the greatness of their God (Numbers 13-14), totally forgetting how God disposed of the Egyptian army (Exodus 14).
I wonder how much of God’s blessings I’m missing because of my attitude; because I’m looking back or around instead of at God; because I think His promises are too good to be true; because I’m not trusting that He wants the best for me; because I doubt He could possibly love me that much.