Summary: This passage shows us five things about complainers.
A Study of the Life of Moses
Sermon # 11
“Complainers Never Win”
Dr. John R. Hamby
A month has passed between the time Israel departed from Egypt to the time the nation reached the Wilderness of Sin. Water had already been a problem (15:22-26) and now they had run out of food. They were frightened to the extent that they began to think about the “good ole days” back in Egypt, when they use to sing and eat. They became discouraged before they had hardly gotten started. They had been on the road only a few days and because they had missed a meal or two they were ready to go back to the slave camps of Egypt. The growling stomachs soon produced grumbling lips.
Today I want you to see five things that this passage shows us about complainers.
1. Complainers Always Find Something To Complain About!
Verses one through four of Chapter sixteen reveals, “And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. (2) Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. (3) And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Amazingly enough the children of Israel have seemed to learn nothing from their past experience of God’s faithfulness and care and again give into self-pity, grumbling and complain-ing. Yet we have to admit that all to often when faced with difficulties and problems we cannot personally solve we give in to despair and complaint.
The truth is that some of us make grumbling an art form. We grumble habitually, only taking off for Sunday’s, some-times that is. We grumble if we are caught in slow moving traffic, if our meal at the restaurant is not delivered in a timely manner, lots of things make us grumble and grouse.
I want you to notice with me some of the characteristics of complaining or grumbling.
1.Grumbling is gratitude problem. Grumbling comes as a response to pain or problems in life. We grumble because we think that we should experience pleasure rather than pain and prosperity rather than adversity.
Whenever we are tempted to murmur and complain we need to review the past and remember how the LORD has blessed us! Many of us are like the person who said,
“My car broke down and it cost me $400 to get it fixed…. $400 that I did not have. Why me Lord? After all, I’ve been better than most. Why are you treating me this way? Why are you punishing me this way? Then the TV went on the blink, and so did the dishwasher, and the clothes dryer and the lawn mower, and even the iron! Why me, Lord? Besides that, why, at my age, should I still be having financial problems? Why am I not “set” financially like some others I know? Why have you denied me opportunities for fame and fortune that you have given to others? Why me, Lord?
When I find myself starting to think like this, it sometimes helps for me to ask the same questions about the other aspects of my life. Lord, what have I done that is so grand that you should have blessed me with a car, a TV set, a clothes- dryer, a lawn mower, and an iron? Why did you give me all these things anyway? Why me, Lord?
Lord, why did you permit me to be born in America with all its plenty? I could have been born in poverty-stricken Bangladesh instead of rich America. Why me, Lord? Lord, why did you give me the opportunity to have a job when so many, who are as deserving as I, are without work? Why me, Lord?
Lord, why did you give me good health? Others have died at my age of heart attacks or are crippled by accidents or disease. Why should I escape ill health when other religious people do not? Why me, Lord? Lord, why have you spared me from the sorrows that strike so many other families? Others, wonderful people, have lost close relatives, but I haven’t. Why me, Lord?
When I think of all the ways the Lord has blessed me, though I don’t deserve it. I wonder how I could possibly complain about the relatively insignificant things that go wrong in my life from time to time. If I could only learn to count my blessings.” [Ted Kyle and John Todd. A Treasury of Bible Illustrations. “Why Me Lord?” # 260 (Nashville: AMG Publishers, 1995) pp/ 96-97.]