I was born and raised in a family full of critical-complainers. I too, am a highly critical-complainer. I’m not saying that my parents were bad parents, or even being critical of them, except to say that they were sinners …and so am I. It’s interesting how generational sins continue on…
That being said, this morning I was very convicted as I sat down to lead devotions with the family. We have been going through the Old Testament and are up to Numbers 11. We followed Moses from the burning bush, through the plagues of Egypt, across the Red Sea into the wilderness with 600,000+ critical-complainers. Today we read about their complaints about the food they were being served by God. I say served because they did not have to search, hunt or pursue it. It landed right in there lap every day. From Heaven!
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” –Exodus 16:4-5
The manna was described as “coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium” (Numbers 11:7) and “its taste was like wafers with honey” (Exodus 16:31). Sounds pretty good to me. Wafers, honey, yep it actually sounds like yummy cookies! But…
“the people became like those who complain…“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” (Numbers 11:1, 5-6)
Who will give us meat?
There is nothing at all to look at except this manna?
Hmmm. I would be happy enough that all I had to look at was manna. Served up fresh each day right to my front porch. I’m not a hunter so the thought of suiting up, sitting in a tree stand all day, shooting an animal, skinning it, cutting it up, etc. has no appeal to me (no offense hunters!). I like the easy road. So, if you’re going to deliver fresh food to my front porch each day…count me in!
But not them!
It’s so easy to want to stay on the front porch and be served, rather than serve.
What a great insight into the nature of man. No matter how good he has it, it can “always be better”. Right? I can’t tell you how many times I have believed that lie. Even this morning. It’s 59 degrees here and I am complaining that my fingers are numb and that it’s freezing cold!
Hmm, to our friends in Canada 59 degrees is a heat wave! LOL.
It’s all perspective.
What perspective are we approaching things?
If we approach things through Gods perspective than we take joy in that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17). When eating manna we remember “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and give thanks to Him!
The chief end of man is to bring Glory to Him and enjoy Him forever!
“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“That God in all things may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11)
What we don’t see in Scripture that God owes us anything. He is not our servant. He is not our butler. He does not have to (nor is He required) to do anything for us. Oh yes, there are promises in His Word for those who rebel against Him…
“But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.” (Ezekiel 20:8)
Mans rebellion + Gods promise = His Wrath
“They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:8-10)
Mans rebellion + Gods promise = His Anger & Destruction upon man
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
Mans disobedience = Gods promise = His Wrath
…and there are promises for those who obey Him…
“Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5)
Mans obedience + Gods promise = His possession
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
Mans obedience + Gods promise = Bear much fruit
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31)
Mans obedience + Gods promise = His disciples
We are called to serve God. We are to bring Glory and honor to His name. He came as an example for us…
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)
He took on the nature of a servant. He is God. He is King. He is ruler. He deserves to be served, but yet He came to serve…
“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
In doing this we are to follow Him. We are to serve and not be served. If we are serving we are not complaining, crtitical, grumblers but lovers of others and their interests become first in our lives and we “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) thus far proving we are His disciples.
This is a lesson I am still learning. As God continues to sanctify me He burns away these areas of chaff in my life.
Before our devotion time this morning a dear brother sent me Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” And I quickly sent him back Proverbs 10:19 “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.”
God in His perfect Wisdom quickly rebuked me. He showed me that my complaining about the temperature (among other things) was not profitable to the hearer, not edifying and was transgression. I love how He gently reminds me to repent. He always guides and leads when we follow Him…
He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, he leadeth me,
by his own hand he leadeth me;
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
by waters still, o’er troubled sea,
still ’tis his hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would place my hand in thine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,
when by thy grace the victory’s won,
e’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
since God through Jordan leadeth me.
Anytime I am prone to complain I think about Matthew 12:36 “every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”
Grumbling, complaining, etc. is nothing more than careless words that we will give an account of in the day of judgment. WOW, a good reminder to keep silent. I pray that I can continue to keep silent when these temptations to critically-complain come.
I praise the Lord for all that He has brought us through here in Belize. There is a ton to complain about by I choose to praise Him instead!
What about you?
That we might get off our front porches and go serve our King!
In His love and for His Glory ALONE-