In Psalm 78, Asaph gives a good description of Israel’s up and down relationship with God. They were supposed to instill faith in the next generations by telling them about God and His wondrous works on their behalf. They were told to teach them to their children, so they would put their confidence in God, but they didn’t always do that.
God had led them through the Red Sea, on dry land, and He had given them visible proof that He was there, in the cloud by day, and the fire at night. He had provided daily food, in the form of manna, and water from a rock. But they grew tired of the manna, they longed for the foods they had eaten in Egypt. They forgot about their miserable existence in Egypt, when they were slaves, and they remembered only, the foods.
They didn’t really have a heart for following God, in spite of the many miracles, so they spoke against God. They chose to forget all that He had done for them, and they said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? We know He’s provided water, can He give bread also?” Then they took it one step farther, they said, “Will He provide meat for us?” The Lord heard their complaining, and He was angry with them, because they chose not to trust in His salvation, deliverance and provision for all their needs.
Over and over again, they grieved Him by their failure to remember His power, which was demonstrated in all that He had already done for them. Their failure to believe in His good intentions towards them, also grieved Him. They forgot the Covenant that God had made with them, and they forgot that the land they were going to, was promised, as a part of that Covenant.
Because of their unbelief, they wandered in the wilderness for the next forty years, until that generation was gone. Their unbelief caused them to make an eleven day journey, last for forty years. Then, God brought the next generation into the land which He had promised. Their constant unwillingness to believe, caused them to fail to receive, all that God had promised. They questioned, first “Can God?” and then, “Will God?”
If God, Who is all powerful, gives His Word, why would I ask the question, “Can God?” If God, Who loves me, has said in His Word, “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat, or what you will wear, or even about tomorrow,” should I ask, “Will He?” When I consider the lilies and the sparrows which He provides for, I know He will provide for me! Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” My part is to believe, He can and He will!