In today's first reading, Numbers 13: 1-2, 25-14:1m 26-29a, 34-35, we read about the Israelites being sent into the land of Canaan to "reconnoiter the land." They returned to Moses reporting that truly Canaan is a land flowing "with milk and honey," but that giants live there. "[T]hey are too strong for us....And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants." Moreover, "[t]he land we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants." The people wailed all night against God. Fed up with them, God says to Moses and Aaron: "How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me....Forty days you spent scouting the land; forty years you shall suffer for your crimes: one year for each day. Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me...." So their time in the desert--not in the land flowing "with milk and honey"--would be extended!
We create our own deserts by grumbling against God, by refusing to trust in the Lord and the Lord's promises. How often do we not exaggerate the difficulties of a job that God asks of us: "It's too hard." "I can't do that." "All the other kids are giants compared to me." "There are others far superior to me; much wiser than me; much smarter than me; far more experienced than me," might be our complaints against God on any given day!
Lord, have mercy on us when, like the Israelites, we do not trust you!