Why is it we like to complain? Do we just want people to feel sorry for us? . . . or to see if we can convince others to side with us?
I believe that most of us think complaining is not a big deal, just a little sin with little consequence. In BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) we are studying the life of Moses this year. That has taken us into the book of Numbers, and it is very clear in several chapters that God was seriously displeased by the complaining of the Israelites and there were major consequences. Let’s have a look:
|Chapter 11||The people complained about the hardships.||God sent fire, and some were consumed.|
|The people complained about having only manna to eat; they wanted meat.||God gave them meat, but they had to eat it for a month until it came out their nostrils and they loathed it. (Psalm 106:15 says, “He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.”)|
|The Lord also struck the people with a very great plague.|
|Chapter 12||Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ brother and sister, complained against Moses.||God struck Miriam (probably the instigator) with leprosy. Granted, it was only for a week. (Consider this though: the whole assembly couldn’t move forward until she was declared clean. EVERYbody knew!!)|
|Chapter 14||The congregation complained about Moses and Aaron leading them to a land of giants and a land “that devours its inhabitants.”||God condemned that generation (except Caleb and Joshua, who’d given a faith-full report) to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and die before seeing the Promised Land.|
|Chapter 16||Korah, a Levite, led a rebellion based on a complaint against Moses and Aaron.||God opened up the ground that swallowed up Korah, his company, and their families, and burned other participants with fire.|
Why did God get so angry with the complainers?
In Numbers 14:26-27, God said that the congregation was complaining against Him. When we (figuratively) shake our fists at someone, at our circumstances, at our expectations not being met, we are actually shaking our fists at God.
Why is that? Because He’s the one in control of those people, those circumstances, those unmet expectations.
Fortunately He is also good, and He loves us. Because He is those three things, we can trust Him. And it is sin when we don’t.
There was one more complaint mentioned in these passages that we haven’t talked about yet. In Numbers 11:11, Moses complained to God about the people. Yet God didn’t strike him dead or discipline him. He gave him the help he needed and lightened his burden. Why didn’t God punish Moses?
One big difference: Moses took his complaints to God. He prayed. He went to the One who could actually do something about the problems.
As spoken by a wise woman: Go first to the throne before going to the phone!