Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. (Numbers 11:1)
Do Not Complain
The descendants of Abraham found themselves as an enslaved people in the land of Egypt for nearly four generations. They cried out to God for deliverance, and through the power of the Lord, Moses leads the people out of bondage into a world of freedom. Arriving at Sinai, the Hebrews became a nation and were given a law. Everything they would need is provided by the hand of the Lord. If they obeyed the commands of God, He would bless them as a mighty people. The Lord had already promised the land of Canaan to the children of Abraham as a land flowing with milk and honey. No enemy would stand against the might of the children of Israel who had the Lord God fighting their battles. There was nothing the people would lack, and through the miracles, signs, and wonders shown in Egypt and the journey to Sinai, the people could trust in the word of the Lord and His promises.
Shortly after leaving Sinai, the heart of the people grew tired. They began to complain about the hardships of their journey. Spending nearly a year at Sinai had settled the people in a place the Lord did not intend on them remaining. Now, the journey to Canaan was difficult, unsettling, and uncertain. The people began to complain, and God got angry. Ingratitude would become a constant character of the Hebrews for the next forty years. They wandered aimlessly for forty years because their reckless hearts of unbelief had more complaint than complying. They were not happy with God’s way of treating them as they viewed themselves as entitled people deserving so much more. Through the lying eyes of yesterday, the people longed for the fish they freely ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. It was as if the people dined on fine food while slaves in Egypt. The truth was the people were oppressed and their lives bitter with hard bondage. It was the voice of the desperate Hebrews that cried out to God for deliverance. It was not long after leaving Sinai the people complained, and God got angry.
The Lord blessed Israel as no people on the face of the earth, and all they could do was complain. He brought them out of Egypt by His mighty hand, and they complained. The Lord gave them fresh water, bread, and meat to their full, and they complained. No army could match their power, and they complained. The Lord gave them a law to live by, and they complained. He promised to take them to a land that had cities prepared for them, vineyards, orchards, and gardens planted for them, and a land of incredible blessings; and all they could do was complain. Through the promises of God, the people would have increased in children, livestock, crops, and wealth, but they could only complain. The history of Israel is characterized by God blessing the people with every blessing from the heavenly storehouse. On every occasion, the nation complained against the benevolent hand that cared for them. This made God angry.
A complaining heart is an ungrateful heart. There is nothing more irreverent to the will and power of God than when a man complains to the Divine. It is easy to find fault with men, but how is it possible to find a complaint against the One who counts the stars and gives each one a name? The sun rises and sets by the will of the Creator, and the heart of men complain. For the most part, humanity is ungrateful. God has given them everything that pertains to life and godliness. They complain it is not enough. Life can be hard and is difficult at times, and people turn against God with anger. How can the clay complain against the potter? Why would anyone blame God for anything? The heart of complaint is something that angers God. Unbelief breeds complaint. The oxen knows the hand of the one that provides for it, and he does not complain. Birds sing because they have nothing to be ungrateful for while a man walks around grumbling with discontent.
The spirit of murmuring and complaint is a poison that can destroy a church. God hates it. He has given His people direction, purpose, and a way to find an abundant life, and there is nothing to complain or criticize. A heart of faith believes in the word of God. Abraham did not complain about his journey. Joseph had many reasons to complain, but he trusted in the God he served and was blessed. Moses was told he would not enter the promised land, and he did not sulk and complain but continued to lead the people to their destiny. The prophets faced many hardships, and they continued to serve the Lord. Jesus did not complain on His journey to the cross. Men like Paul gave their lives to teach others the gospel of Christ and did so with no complaint. What is there in my life that I complain about that becomes a spirit of ingratitude toward the immense blessings of God? I am not here to complain but to honor God and glorify His will in my life. Let others see my light of gratitude so they can find the peace that passes all understanding. This will bring contentment and joy. No complaints. Thank you, God.