And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you
The Lord responds to the Israelites’ grumbling with such graciousness. He is their Father, and they are like newborn children: they don’t know anything for themselves about this Father God, except for his power and strength to bring them out of Egypt. But would he care for their daily needs? Would he come to them in compassion and kindness, or would he only show himself in deeds of power and might against his enemies?
Such a question can seem an immature one from our perspective. But we have an entire history, thousands of years, written and recorded for us, to answer that question. The Israelites, like little children, need to be shown and reassured that the all-mighty God who delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh is also the God who can be trusted completely. The Lord is patient with Israel, taking their first complaints without rebuke, but instead giving them what they need. That they have only to ask — not grumble and complain — is a lesson that takes them — and us — longer than it should.