I have a friend who is a believer, but he complains about anything he doesn’t like. In fact, he scoffs at the idea of offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving, which, according to Psalm 50:23, honors God.
We have been reading through Exodus and Numbers and, in relation to my complaining friend, it struck me that
the biggest, most grievous sin of the Israelites was complaining and grumbling. God responded to this swiftly and firmly. Here are some examples
Num 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.
Num 11:10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
Num 21:5,6 But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Num 21:6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
Exo 16:12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.'”
Exo 16:13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.
Num 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.
Now, we all grumble at times, and often we don’t even notice it. And we don’t tend to view this as a serious sin. But it is for it is the manifestation of the root sins of unbelief and rebellion. We refuse to believe that God is in control, that He gives us what is best, that He knows what He is doing. We think we know better! These are serious sins, which bring negative outcomes.
To trust Him, to praise Him in the midst of difficulty, this honors Him and opens the way that we may see the salvation of the Lord (Psalm 50:23). So, when I am tempted to grumble or complain, I want to remember the Israelites in the desert and how their unbelief and rebellion disgraced God and brought such difficulty into their lives.
Lord, help us to immediately realize when we are complaining, to repent and offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving in all things that we may fulfill the purpose of our lives, honoring you.