Numbers 11:1-3 – “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.” NASU
Although it seems to be human nature to complain it is an activity the Bible reveals stirs up God’s anger. Why? There are several reasons but the most prominent is that it is disrespectful and turns the focus from God to self. The last portion of that statement originated in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and the entire statement originated in Lucifer the fallen angel we know as Satan or the devil. Complaints against God only serves to diminish our confidence in, respect for, and commitment to Him.
Our problem is that we have learned that by complaining we often get change and sometimes get what we desire. Not with God, but with other human beings. Children learn this early in life and when parents seek to please their children, giving them whatever it takes to make them happy they achieve neither. The children are not pleased because the depraved human heart and mind always want more and happiness is never achieved by possessions or concessions. It is momentary and fleeting. We complain about politics, churches, the economy, the weather, our spouses, and a million other things only to find that when we get what we wanted it is often not what we want.
In the New Testament, we read in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…” WHAT? You mean a Christian can’t express his/her opinion? Well, yes, we can but when it goes beyond simply identifying an issue to complaining it is destructive, damaging, and dangerous. The Greek word translated “complainer” literally means, “one who is discontented with his/her lot in life.” Galatians 5 informs us that it is detrimental to the peace, joy, and patience that comes from the Holy Spirit. It also hurts our witness to the lost because they see us “discontented” not “joyous” and “at peace”. How do you tell someone who is lost that in Christ there is Joy Unspeakable and Fullness of Glory if we are discontented and unhappy? Not much testimony there!
Paul informed us that complaining is not a harmless sport or activity in the life of the believer, “And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1 Corinthians 10:10). That sounds serious! Remember the 10 spies that came back with a glowing report of Canaan but a negative report and complained they were like “grasshoppers in the eyes of the inhabitants”. God does not mind us coming to Him with our frustrations uttered in our private prayer closet but He is very down on our spreading discord among brethren in complaints. Philippians 4:6 instructs us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests (and complaints) to God.” Peter instructed in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”
Let me give you a positive remedy for complaining. Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” It is my desire and I’m sure yours to have the “mind of Christ” and we should pray that the LORD will enable us to have the same attitude and mindset as Jesus in all things and at all times. Will there be times when we are unhappy with what is happening? Are we human beings? Will we disagree with Church leadership from time to time? Are we human beings? Will we question God and wonder what He is doing? There will be times when He seems to have lost His mind and rather than addressing our prayers is going out of His way to do the opposite.
We can be like those in the wilderness who COMPLAIN and incur the anger of God because of our lack of trust and our utter disrespect toward Him or we can TRUST His integrity, faithfulness, covenants, and Word. The choice is ours but we should always keep in mind that when we move into the area of COMPLAINING we are not simply complaining rather than looking to Him the author and finisher of our faith we are damaging our relationship with the divine.
May the Sweet Sweet Spirit of God enable you to see your complaints for what they are and enable you to Look to Him in All Things and at All Times. God bless you richly and I pray you have a great day in Jesus!