Reading through Leviticus was a much bigger struggle than Genesis and Exodus. I got overwhelmed with all the specific instructions about the what, when, and how to offer sacrifices; namely, the burnt offering, grain offering, peace offering, sin offering, guilt offering and ordination offering. Truly, there is “much ado about offerings.”

However, as I was reading through the chapters, I suddenly had a realization: If the Israelites had been commanded to make all these different offerings of animals and grain, then it must be assumed that they as a matter of fact had a lot of animals and a significant amount of grain with them. It was after all, from these daily sacrifices that the Levites get their portion and they even had regulations where and up to when they could eat it.

In Exodus 12:32, the Pharaoh sent them away with their flocks and herds after the death of the firstborn of Egypt, and so we know where the animals came from. Now as for the grain, it seemed unlikely for the people to plant and cultivate wheat in the desert, so it would be most probable that they brought a lot of grain with them as well when they left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea.

With this realization came a big question: If they had all these sources of food, then why would the Israelites complain of “starving to death” on the desert? They had their animals and grain which they could have eaten!

Here’s the scripture wherein they grumbled against the Lord:

The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord ’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:1-3 NIV)

This prompted a bit of researching (another stall in my daily reading, but I couldn’t help it; I have to try and make sense of what I’m reading, right?). Unfortunately, it appears that scripture is silent as to the specific source of grain while they were in the desert. They probably brought some from Egypt, it is possible they traded with other peoples while in the desert, or maybe they found some grain in the desert — it’s all speculation. However, since God commanded them to offer it, it would be safe to assume that God also provided them with a source where to get such offering.

What we do know is that for 40 years, God provided them with manna or the “bread from heaven” to eat. They had quail in the evening and manna in the morning the day after they complained. God made sure their needs were met, even though they weren’t always gracious nor deserving of God’s generosity.

The Israelites did not lack God’s provision. They lacked faith. And perseverance. And persevering faith.

Today, during our Praise and Worship, we sang the song, “Ikaw Lamang” which talks about God’s goodness and grace. As I sang it today, it became a personal acknowledgment of how God chose to show his goodness to me; how He has given me such a wonderful family; how He has blessed us with all that we need and more. I realized more deeply how God, by His grace and mercy, has allowed that a proud, spolied, fault-finding, rebellious and always complaining, miserable individual such as myself would ever be called a child of God.

Grace: “God’s unmerited favor.” Being blessed even when we don’t deserve it.

I found myself humbled at His presence, as I pieced together the different things He has led me to ponder on these last few days. I have been reflecting on how God has never allowed me to experience deep suffering and hard trials, and yet as a child and even as an adult, I was angry at God and complained about things that others would already count as blessings in comparison to their own suffering.

To put it simply, I know I’ve had an easy life compared to most others, and still, I spend a lot of time grumbling against God.

Not very far from what the Israelites in the desert did, right? They were blessed far more than any other nation; they have seen God’s mighty hand as they were kept safe from the 10 plagues; they saw how God made the Egyptians give them silver and gold as they left Egypt and they came out of bondage with much wealth; they witnessed how God parted the Red Sea and punished those who had oppressed them;  they were freed from slavery and was given a wonderful promise from God that they were to come to their abundant inheritance of the land of milk and honey.

With a renewed heart, I continued to sing to the Lord, asking forgiveness for my shortsightedness and thanking Him for His grace. I sang to ask for His help to always see His goodness in everything and to commit myself and my whole family once again to serve Him with all our hearts, soul and minds; to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice; an offering that will reach the heart of God…

To Love God with all that we are, and with all that we’ve got.

We may not always get it right, indeed we will fail often; but with God’s grace, we have a reason to have a faith that perseveres;  a confidence that “He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 1:6)

Almighty God, You are soooo GOOD! We love You, LORD!