Do you ever complain or gripe about anything? I know, it’s a rhetorical question, and yes, I am the chiefest of sinners here, but it is not a godly trait to complain. We have all been blessed abundantly; Christians specifically, but even the ungodly are able to reap the temporal blessings our Father has provided us. Much is written in both the Old and New... Testaments regarding murmuring or complaining. We are told to be a joyful, thankful people, even when we endure various testings (James 1:2). Numbers 11 gives us some insight as to how God feels when we complain. God has finally delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and they are making their way to the promised land of Canaan. Verse 1 of Numbers 11 begins, “And when the people complained…” Here we go! We don’t know exactly what this particular complaint was (there were soooo many complaints to follow), but It Has Begun. Immediately, God’s anger is kindled. Why is that? Perhaps because He showed forth His power and mercy and love in delivering them; perhaps because they doubted His continued care for them; the list could go on of “perhapses,” but needless to day, they were rebellious and disobedient, without patience or faith in this matter. God Sent Fire! The camp began to burn and people began to die! The people cried to Moses and he had to pray for God to quench the fire. God did so. Again the power of God was displayed to a rebellious Israel. There were consequences as a result of their complaining. Some died. This generation would not see the promised land they so longed for. Promises were unrealized as a result of their complaining. We can learn a lesson from this. Our God has always provided our needs and will continue to do so. We have a promise of eternal life if we would not dismiss His commandments and behave as Israel of old. We have a promise that He will never leave us or forsake us if we remain faithful. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5. Paul understood this well: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” (Philippians 4:11). There are dangers in complaining. They may not be realized immediately, but they are there. Just to name a few:
1) It discourages others.
2) It discourages US!
3) It shows an ungodly disposition to the world.
4) We miss out on the blessings of God.
5) People will not want to be around us so we miss out on fellowship.
6) Our focus is turned inward instead of upon evangelism and edification.
7) It grieves the Father and causes us to seem ungrateful for the blood of our Savior who was willing to die for us. It causes us to lose our faith.
A wise lady once taught a group of young ladies, “Be careful what you complain about, whether it be your children, your husband, your job, your mother-in-law or whatever – they can be removed from you!” That was an eye-opener for me. Let’s make an effort not to be a complainer – it’s just one more foothold for the devil.
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, who serves as a gospel preacher and elder for the Chipman Road church of Christ in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, speaks at Ladies Day gatherings and has published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.