How much longer? This question had hit me wrong. My annoyance factor was rising slightly. We had just pulled out of town 20 minutes earlier. I had settled into my position in the seat, set the cruise, and was ready. Soon the questions turned to arguments in the back over the usual:
- Over the imaginary boundary line
- Took/Stole markers or crayons
- Won’t give something back
- DVD choice
- Other silly stuff
How could they be this way so quickly? We were setting out on a trip that was FOR THEM. We had planned and prepped for this trip to GIVE TO THEM. We had told them where we were going and received screams of joy. We had told them how we were going to go. We packed books, music, DVD’s, snacks, and more! We were pumped. Now just a little while in to the trip they are fighting. They are wondering when we will get there. It was taking to long they argued. I am tired. I am hungry. I am thirsty. I have to go to the bathroom.
I lost it.
I told them how ungrateful they were acting. I told them how silly this all was. I threatened that if it did not stop I would…wait for it…turn the car around and go back home.
I wasn’t going back home. I had purchased rooms and tickets. I had already taken vacation days. We weren’t going back home. I was frustrated with their actions. I got loud. I got a little mean. They got the picture, sort of anyway! As I read through Numbers I find a similar incident between God and the Israelites.
1 Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down.
3 So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.
We have all faced these “Taberah” moments, right? The family screams and our fire blazes. What we find in scripture is like what we find in life. When the children are ungrateful, discipline needs to happen. God was not going to destroy them all. He wasn’t going to turn them around…forever. He had promised them the land and He would deliver. We will too. Complaining happens with the immature. It is our job to make sure they know the boundaries, know we love them, and will discipline if needed.
6 Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:
Yahweh-Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth,
7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand [generations], forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave [the guilty] unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.