Numbers 11:1. How Does God Feel About Complaining?

Feb 24 Numbers 11 1

In regions of Mexico, hot springs and cold springs are found side by side, and because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry to the springs. They boil their clothes in hot springs, and then rinse them in the cold springs. A tourist watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide: “They must thing Mother Nature is generous to freely supply such ample, clean hot and cold water.” The guide replied, “No, senor, there is much grumbling because she supplies no soap.”

Isn’t that the way of life? We constantly are blessed by God for what he provides but all we see is what He doesn’t supply – and we grumble and complain – and who like being around people that complain all the time about everything? And yet complaining is so common that for many it is a way of life. Right now you can probably think about someone you avoid being around because of how much they complain. We complain about teachers, minimum wage rates, bosses, traffic, taxes, people in government offices, our pastors and church leaders, spouses, children, home repairs, health, and troubles of all kinds. No matter how common complaining has become in our world, doesn’t make it right.

The Bible makes it clear that complaining is a sin in the life of His people. In Numbers 11, we find the nation of Israel complaining and the tragic consequences that follow. But does this apply to Christians today? 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that these things happened to them as an example and they were written down for our instruction. Philippians 2:14 tell us that we are to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” So let’s look at Numbers 11 and find out what Israel had to complain about.

The nation of Israel was on their journey through the wilderness after God brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They had already had the stop at Mt Sinai where God gave them the Ten Commandments. They are now moving towards the land of Canaan, the land God had promised to them. All along the way they grumbled and complained. They complained as soon as the Egyptian army began to catch up with them, so God parted the Red Sea and they travel across to the other side on dry land. They complain because there was no meat, so God sent them quails and manna. They complained about the lack of water and God miraculously provided water out of a rock. By the time we get to Numbers 11, the people were just complaining about the general problems of the journey. There wasn’t any big problem going on here. It was more like the child in the back seat who asks every five minutes on the family vacation, “Are we there yet?” Perhaps they were complaining about having to lug around their tents, or the same scenery day in and day out – sand, sand, sand. Maybe they complained about how hot it was out there in the wilderness. Or maybe it was the sand getting in their sandals. But in Numbers 11:1, God (and probably Moses too!) is just sick and tired of their complaining. As a result God disciplines them severely with some of them actually losing their life. The very first verse of Numbers 11 makes it very clear about how God feels about complaining – it angers Him. Their complaints would be no different than the things we complain about today – the teacher who grades unfairly, the boss who scored unfairly on the annual review, the amount of work dumped on us at work, the irritating habits of your spouse, or not having anything to wear when you gaze into a closet full of clothes. Even if our complaints are due to a true hardship, we shouldn’t complain. Instead, we should trust God.

As we read Numbers 11, we find that God directs his anger to “some in the outskirts of the camp.” Why those people? If you think about where the complainers hang out, it’s rarely in the midst. Instead they hang out at the copier or water cooler. Or maybe the supply room or behind the office building. But if we remember from the first few chapters of Numbers, God gave very precise instructions on the order the people of Israel were to camp and march. It is very likely that the complainers were out of formation and hanging out in the outskirts together and feeding of each others’ complaints. The loudest complainers are usually hanging out together on the sidelines refusing to be compliant and mouth-off at every opportunity.

So what is it about our complaining that angers God? Complaining demonstrates our unthankfulness for the gifts God gives us as well as our inability to trust Him. So when we find ourselves complaining, we need to stop and ask ourselves, “Am I content with what God has provided for me?”

God had provided for the nation of Israel manna to help sustain them in the journey through the wilderness. It had all the nutrients they would need. But anyone would agree that manna flakes for breakfast, manna sandwiches for lunch and manna burgers for dinner can get old really quick. It would be like have scrambled eggs for breakfast, egg salad sandwich for lunch, and omelets for dinner – every day. How long would it take before you never wanted to see another egg again? But if eggs is what God has provided, then we should be thankful that God has provided food for us to eat and we are not starving.

Not only is there a physical application to learn from, but there is also a spiritual application. In John 6 , Jesus said that He is the true Bread of Life. Manna provided the physical and life-sustaining nourishment they needed, but Jesus provides the spiritual and eternal life we need. So when we find ourselves complaining, we need to also ask ourselves, “Am I satisfied with Christ?” Often our complaints are evidence that we are not. The Bible teaches us that our joy is full in Christ. However, many times, we long for the things of the world and fall for Satan’s lie that money, relationships, careers, becoming a parent, or having name-brand possessions will make us happy. Any time, we begin to long for things of this world, then we’ve taken our eyes of Christ and are looking back to the life Christ rescued us from and all that we have in Him. Where are your eyes focused – things of this world, or on Christ and things that are spiritual?

In responding to Israel’s complaints, God gave them exactly what they had complained about not having. In fact, He gave it in such an over-abundant amount that it would “come out of their noses” and become “loathsome” to them. So be careful about complaining because you may just get your wish and more than you can stand. Psalm 106 14-15 tells us, “They lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls.”

So the next time you find yourself complaining, remember that our complaints are merely a surface symptom of a much deeper problem: the sin of discontent. Whenever we complain, we provide the verbal evidence of our dissatisfaction with God’s provision and our lack of trust in Him. As soon as you realize you are complaining, stop right then and confess your sin to God. Acknowledge that He always knows what’s best for us and accept that fact that He has given everything we need. Ask him to help you be content and look for how He is providing for your every need. Turn your complaining into thankfulness.

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This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :

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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.

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408321: Living By The Book, Book & Workbook Living By The Book, Book & Workbook

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There’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. Yet it can also be one of the most fulfilling relationships you can experience, outside of your relationship with God. However, many marriages leave God outside of the relationship. Godly marriages do not happen without cultivating it, investing in it, and putting God first in your individual lives and in your marriage.
This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
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• Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
• Romance Builders
• Relationship Builders
• Personal reflections
• Date ideas
• Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

 

 

 

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