And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved. 30 But before they had satisfied their craving, while the food was still in their mouths, 31 the anger of God rose against them…despite his wonders, they did not believe. Ps 78:29-31, 32
“Don’t talk with your mouth full” – Simple, good ol’ fashioned, momma wisdom. This advice is particularly applicable this week as we gather with our loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving. Full bellies should reflect a full heart, a heart that is grateful for all the blessings and provisions that God has so graciously bestowed. The Lord is kind to us, faithful in every respect. Even for those of us who have experienced a tough year, we know that the Lord has been with us, caring for us in our weakness. For this we are compelled by the Spirit to give thanks to God, however broken or fragile it may be. Yes, our benevolent Sovereign has woven together a tapestry of happy providence for those that love him, for those that submit to Christ as Lord and Savior. Beloved, there is much to be thankful for!
In this portion of Ps 78, Asaph is recounting God’s faithfulness to Israel despite their multiple failings in the wilderness. God fed them supernaturally with manna and quail, bread and meat. Yet, as the psalmist writes, they still complained, even while they were still chewing the supernatural provisions. How ungrateful! How sad! They were… “talking (begrudgingly) with their mouth full (of tangible divine blessings).” The irony is thick – they were cursing the Lord while literally chewing the blessings that he had provided. The people were not grateful. They were not content. They were not in a spirit of giving thanks. Instead, they were blind to the goodness of God.
I must confess that I often “talk with my mouth full.” That is, I have complained in the midst of my blessings. In the words of Job, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…” (Job 42:3) Accepting the wisdom of God can sometimes be a challenge for me. I often feel like I know better than him – I know how my life should go. And so I speak, blind to the ocean of God’s hesed that I am swimming in. Am I really better than the wilderness generation? Would I have done any better? Without the Lord’s help, no, I don’t think so, because even now, I grumble and doubt and complain. All the while, the blessings of God pour over me without much notice. It is only through the Holy Spirit that he makes me aware of my failure so that I may humbly repent.
Beloved, as we enter into Thanksgiving, I pray that I won’t ‘talk with my mouth full.’ It’s been an incredibly hard year, but I am so blessed. The Lord has given to me far beyond what I could ever imagine, and I am so grateful. Once, I had an unbelieving friend tell me, “Matthew, you’re the only person I know that can fall out of a boat and not hit the water.” He saw the providence of God in my life and couldn’t explain it. He reminded me of the grace and mercy and love that overflows to me in Christ Jesus. So, the next time I am tempted to grumble, to complain, to whine, or fall into self-pity, I will try to remember the words of my momma (and also Asaph) and not ‘talk with my mouth full.’
Happy Thanksgiving, CCF. May we give glory to our Father with a grateful heart.