Summary: Being someone who grumbles or complains is detrimental to our spiritual well-being. Let's see what we can do about that.
STOP RIDING ON THE COMPLAIN TRAIN
Last week my sermon was on making sure we don't lose our song. Jesus put a new song in our hearts-a song of salvation, a song of joy, a song of thanksgiving. But when we suffer hardship or loss it's easy to lose our song. But we need to maintain our song when it's hardest not to. One of the things that will contribute to losing our song is being a complainer. We've all been guilty of it. And we know the bad attitude it can cause. Have you ever been around someone who seems to complain about everything? Would you consider such a person to be happy? Content? Thankful? Being someone who grumbles or complains is detrimental to our spiritual well-being. Let's see what we can do about that.
1) The Israelites were complainers.
Exodus 16:1-3, "The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD'S hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
The Israelites had many complaints against Moses. When they were being chased by Pharaoh's army they thought they were doomed. So they complained that Moses should've left them alone to die in Egypt (14:11). Moses addressed their fears and then parted the Red Sea.
After that miracle, they were complaining again when they had gone three days without water and were disappointed when the water they did find was bitter (15:24). Then Moses threw a piece of wood into the water and it became sweet.
And we have the complaint here in chpt. 16 and another in chpt. 17 when they were thirsty again. Now, although it would be understandable to complain when they thought they were about to be killed and when they had gone without water for three days and to finally find some but couldn't drink it and again when they were hungry. But at the same time their complaining demonstrated a lack of gratitude for their blessings and a lack of confidence in God's power.
Exodus 16:6-8, "So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”
Notice that Moses states their grumbling was against God. How much of our grumbling and complaining is really directed at God? We grumble and complain about our jobs, our circumstances, about what we think we should have, etc. We're so disappointed about the circumstances of life but who do we hold ultimately responsible? God.
We might not be directly complaining about God or to God but in essence that's what we're doing. Because if God is all powerful and he's ultimately in control then why isn't he doing anything about my situation? Why is he allowing these disappointments to keep happening? Realizing that our grumbling is ultimately against God should put things in perspective for us.
When we look at Psalm 106 we can see some reasons why the Israelites grumbled.
Psalm 106:16-27, "In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
So he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands."