Read: Colossians 3:2

The Israelites experienced severe suffering when they were enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). God sent Moses to plead with Pharaoh to “let my people go,” Pharaoh refused to do so until finally, following a series of plagues, he released them from the bondage of slavery.

Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
— Exodus 14:31

Two chapters later, the Israelites began to get hungry on their journey to the promised land and started complaining and requesting to return to slavery. Exodus 16 documents these complaints and states that the grumbling began on the 15th day of the second month since departing from Egypt. It took a month and a half of hunger pangs to forget 430 years of their suffering in slavery. The Israelites’ hunger prevented them from remembering the faithfulness and provision of the God who had just freed them from slavery.

The rest of Exodus displays a pattern of God doing miraculous things to save the Israelites, shortly followed by their forgetfulness and complaining. It is frustrating to read these accounts. How could they complain and turn to worthless idols after God had made himself so evident? But, thousands of years later, we do the same thing. We often get wrapped up in earthly concerns and material objects. We forget God’s faithfulness and try to take control for ourselves, repeating the pattern of the Israelites. However, we can change this pattern if we shift our eyes from the difficulty of our circumstances to the faithfulness of God.

The choice to focus on what Colossians 3:2 calls “things above” instead of things on earth can be difficult to attain, but worship and meditation on scripture can help us shift our eyes to the proper perspective. There is a song by Maverick City Music called The Story I’ll Tell that addresses the difficulty we face in life while finding hope in recounting God’s faithfulness:

I’ll testify of the battles you’ve won
How you were my portion when there wasn’t enough
And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed
The waters you parted, the waves that I’ve walked
Oh, my God did not fail
Oh, it’s the story I’ll tell

When you face life’s obstacles, what story will you tell yourself? Will you fret about the barrier in front of you, or will you sing of the goodness of God?

Reflection Questions:

  1. How can you remind yourself to focus on things above instead of earthly concerns?
  2. In what ways does this change in focus impact your thoughts and emotions?
  3. How can you maintain this heavenly perspective in your daily life?