They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on 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!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
Freedom from entitlement
We don’t think that we are entitled. We don’t think we are entitled to special privileges or special treatment. We just want what’s coming to us, and we just want what’s fair. We just want our parents to upgrade our phone to the newest version. We just want to be able to take the car whenever we want. But what if they won’t? Or what about when they ground us or take away what we have, then we cry out, “That’s not fair.” We’re not entitled. Not us.
Oh, wait. That’s an attitude of entitlement.
I imagine the Israelites felt the same way. After 40 years in the wilderness these Israelites were tired of the desert and ready to go into the land God promised. They weren’t like their parents. They trusted God. In fact, they just attacked and destroyed one Canaanite city. But then God led them south. Wait! South? They were supposed to go north and into the promised land. “That’s not fair, God!” They had trusted God. They deserved to go in. They deserved to stop eating that same manna and quail.
God was not happy with their attitude and their hearts. So he sent some snakes into their camp because he wanted to help them realize that he was God. He wanted them to know that if it wasn’t for him providing for them, they’d be dead. He wanted them to trust his leading, even when they didn’t get what they wanted when they wanted it.
Living in America, God has given us more than we could possibly need. Every single day we have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and a roof over our head. On top of all that, our Father gives us all our electronics, air conditioning, and clothes. God has given us far more than we deserved. He is taking care of every single one of our needs daily.
But incredibly he gives us even more! God freely gives us forgiveness, life, and salvation. That means that we have every treasure of heaven as well. Those treasures never go bad, don’t rust, or go old and need upgrading. They are eternal.
In life, you won’t always get what you want. Sometimes it will even seem that God is leading you down a strange path. But you can trust that your God is leading you well and is giving you what you need. In fact, he has already given you far more than you could ever dream of or deserve in Jesus. Your Father knows what he’s doing, and he always and only gives good things. Trust him.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for all the gifts that you so graciously give me every single day. I’m sorry for the times that I think I’m entitled and deserve certain blessings from you. Help me to be content with what you have given me, and let me find peace in Jesus. Amen.