This morning while stirring my almond milk into my coffee, a small whirlpool started. My mind immediately went back to my childhood and our neighbor who was the only house on the block with a pool. Although they were our neighbors and good friends, we were never allowed to just walk over and go in the pool or ask if we could go in; we had to be invited. It wasn’t a deep pool, but it was big and deep enough for us to get a whirlpool started, and let me tell you we were good at it. So much so that we always ran the risk of getting scolded because the water was spilling out all over. We would then stop moving and see who could last the longest standing against the flow of water without getting pulled back into it. This got me thinking about how there are so many times in our lives which we are standing strong, but the pull of the whirlpool is just too much and we get caught up or swept away. How often are we like the Israelites in the desert getting caught up in the whirlpool of grumbling and worshipping false idols instead of standing against it?
In the book of Exodus, we read about Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the wilderness. Even after the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of the Pharaoh’s chariots and armies, they started in the cycle of grumbling:
The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!” Exodus 16:2-3
The Lord heard this grumbling and provided manna and quail giving Moses specific instructions about only eating enough for that day unless it was the day before the sabbath. This provision of food continued for forty years. You would think this would be enough proof to the Israelites that God would provide for them as long as they didn’t start the whirlpool of grumbling again.
They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water to drink. So the people complained to Moses, “Give us water to drink.” “Why are yo complaining to me?” Moses replied to them. “Why are you testing the Lord?” But the people thirsted for water and grumbled against Moses. Exodus 17:1-2
Yet again, we see God providing by having Moses strike a rock at Horeb and making water flow from it for the people and livestock to drink. This cycle of grumbling and even worshiping a false idol (a gold calf to be exact, Exodus 32). Through all the provisions and protections God gave the Israelite’s, they continued to get caught up and distracted by the whirlpool instead of standing against the flow and praising God for all He was doing for them.
How easy is it for you to get caught up in a whirlpool? Whether it is grumbling, gossiping, self-doubt, temptation, social media, depression, addiction, etc. the pull is strong but we must stand firm against it, knowing God will provide. As we go about our lives, take a look around and listen to the words you are saying, are they adding to the strength or the whirlpool, or are they standing against the flow?