Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And do not forget all his benefits. Psalm 103:2
Read Exodus 16:1-9
It is a most remarkable thing that I can have this for my evening reading, this ancient record. It is from Israel’s treasured scripture. How come they preserved it? Like so much else in my Bible it is a brutally honest confession. There is no attempt to conceal that their people, far from being exemplary people of God, far from exhibiting what it is to live within the outpoured blessing of God, these forefathers and foremothers in the faith who had actual first-hand experience of God as deliverer and saviour were ungrateful wretches. Complaint was their default position. Before they are released they complain, as if by habit. At least I can read this and not be far outshone by their testimony. I can see myself in them. And that must be the whole point, to wake me up to the absurdity of it, the inexcusability, and to bring me to recognise that I live — my default position — within the undeserved blessing of God.
Dear Father, my provider, who gives me daily food, shelter at night, a measured rhythm of life, company for the journey, going out and coming in, these things I have in common with those who live about me. We all live under your blessing. I have the added grace, the inestimable privilege, that you have shown this to me in your Son. What everyone takes as theirs, what some seize by right, I know as your undeserved blessing. All things are so much more precious when I know them as gifts, as gifts from the hand of the Father of all. Therefore it is impossible, it is ungrateful, it is faithless for me to live without gratitude, without thanksgiving or joy. For every time I do, forgive me. Forgive me and restore to me the joy of my salvation.