Summary: Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we complain too easily. Learn what a complaint to God is, and be surprised at what happens when we complain to God.


Numbers 11:4-9, 31-34

John Tung, 6-3-07

I. Introduction

Long, long time ago, a nation had a king. This king was greater than any king in the whole world. He was strong, protective, wise and provided for this people. The only problem was that this king was invisible. People could not see him. Sometimes they could hear him speak from a tent, but they could not see him.

After a while the people began to despise this king. They looked around and saw that the kings of the nations around them were visible, wore majestic and royal clothes, had shiny golden crowns on their heads and had mighty soldiers and chariots that looked vicious and powerful.

So, the people of the nation of the invisible king complained to their leader that they did not want this invisible king as their leader, but wanted a visible human king like the nations around them.

And to their surprise, the leader allowed them to have their request.

So, they elected one of their own tall and strong young men to be their king. And as a result of them choosing this man for their king, they had to now pay taxes to support this king and his lifestyle and his army. They had to bring offerings of food and clothes to this king and his court. Their sons and daughters were made servants to the king. The daughters became cooks and bakers and some of the sons had to run ahead of the chariots, and thus were most likely the first ones to die in battle. And they wound up having even less than they had when the invisible king was their ruler.

Does this story sound familiar?

It should. It is from the OT (1 Sam. 8). It is the story of how Israel abandoned God as their king in order to have a human king. And as a result, what they asked for and got was a much worse thing that what they already had.

There is a lesson in there.

There is a lesson about being careful of what you ask for, because you just might get it. And if you are not careful about what you ask for, the thing that you get can turn out to be much worse than what you already have.

This is an example of an ancient story but whose application is not outdated.

And we can say the whole OT is like that. The whole OT in one sense was written so that we in the NT age would learn those lessons and not repeat them.

Or as, 1 Corinthians 10:6 says in referring to the lessons of the OT, (slide) “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

God loves us so much he doesn’t want us to repeat the mistakes people made in the past, so one of the reasons He wrote the OT was as a lesson book to record those painful lessons so that we would not repeat them.

But people are forgetful.

We are all forgetful. We easily forget or not pay attention to the things that wiser people tell us. We forget or not pay attention to things that parents, teachers, and other adults teach us.

Or we might remember them for a bit, but then we forget them very soon.

This is why I am starting a new series of sermons for the English adults. This series is not just directed at teens, it is directed at adults. Because adults also forget easily the lessons that they need to keep in mind.

This new series of sermons is called OT Stories: Ancient But Not Outdated. There are many stories in the OT – and when I say “stories” here, I mean these are real life stories, not made up ones or myths - that show people and actions and God and what they did many years ago. But these lessons have applications even for today. And that is what we intend in the English services to show in this upcoming series.

I am not sure what the youth services preaching theme is, whatever it is, I am sure it is good and practical to the teens. But for today’s combined service I am going to pick a story from the OT that I think has application for both the teens and the adults.

The story I have chosen in from Num. 11. It is the story of the complaints of the Jews as they were on their way to Israel, God’s promised land for them. And along the way on their journey, they complained bitterly to God and we want to see why they complained, what exactly is a complaint, and what God did.

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