To discover bitterness at God in my own heart or in the life of my disciple should not come as a surprise. There is biblical precedent of the Lord’s children resenting him even while experiencing daily expressions of his love. Throughout the Exodus the Israelites openly grumbled against the Lord saying things like:
The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. (Deuteronomy 1:26)
Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? (Numbers 14:3)
What makes Israel’s statements astounding is that they come from the lips of those who were eyewitnesses to the great miracles of the Egyptian plagues, the parting of the Red Sea (my favorite Bible miracle), water from rocks, manna each morning, quail each evening, sandals that did not wear out, not to mention the constant presence of the pillars of smoke and fire.
The apostle Paul tells us that the reason that the Exodus stories have been written down is to serve as a warning for our own attitude and behavior today. We are in danger of harboring contempt for the Lord just as the Israelites did thousands of years ago. He writes:
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. (1 Corinthians 10:6)
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
I remember as a teenager thinking “If only I could see the Lord do one miracle then I could believe him for anything.” I am now convinced that even if I (or any anyone else) were to see a miracle it would not alter my basic attitude towards the Lord because the witnessing of a miracle alone is not enough to change a heart as seen in Pharaoh and the Israelites. The Bible records for us God’s amazement at Israel’s defiant attitude even after all the miracles he preformed before them:
The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? (Numbers 14:11)
- Your disciple’s bitterness towards the Lord will not necessarily make sense. A good home, a good church, and a blest life do not insulate your disciple from bitterness.
- A discontented attitude from your disciple is an indicator of bitterness towards the Lord.
- A relational distance between your disciple and the Lord (difficulty with prayer and reading the word) is evidence of bitterness in his heart towards the Lord.