Summary: Complaining destroys faith. It cuts us off from the provision of God at the time we need it most.
THE CURE FOR COMPLAINING
So, what did you complain about this morning?
The person driving too slowly in front of you on your way to church?
The temperature of your coffee?
That this room was too cold, too warm, the sound too loud, not loud enough?
Your kids, your wife, your husband ... ?
Complaining has become as American as apple pie, don’t you think? Why?
Entitlement mentality- We feel entitled to fast internet, cell phone service, food served quickly ... (It’s a long list) and when it doesn’t happen, we feel entitled to gripe, grumble, and complain.
Boredom - Those who are not engaged in work that provides them with a sense of fulfillment are much more prone to fall into complaining about the efforts of others.
Poor self-image - Some complainers actually gripe because they feel miserable about themselves. In a curious twist of selfishness, they are incapable of seeing good in others and they have this need to pull others down, to criticize and to complain even about those who attempt to help them!
Think that’s harmless, that the complaining has no consequence?
The Bible teaches us otherwise.
The example of Israel -
The nation of Israel was enslaved in Egypt. For 400 years, the descendants of Abraham were living far from the land God had promised them, increasingly under the heavy hand of their oppressors. God called a man named Moses to be their deliverer and with a series of miracles brought about the defeat of a super-power, advanced society so that the people of Israel could leave Egypt and return to the land of their father, the Promised Land.
But, almost from the beginning, they were a people of miserable complaint!
Just days after seeing God’s amazing power, while they were encamped at the Red Sea, they saw the dust of the approaching Egyptian army on the horizon to the west. What did they do? They complained!
“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’ ” (Exodus 14:11-12, NLT)
Did God abandon them to the Egyptian army? No. He parted the Red Sea and they miraculously escaped, walking through on dry land!
Yet, weeks later, when they were short of water, instead of praying, they complained! When supplies were about to run out, they complained some more!
"There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:2-3, NLT)
Even then God sent them manna, a perfect heavenly food that they gathered each morning.
Were they thankful? No. Soon they had this complaint.
"The people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
(Numbers 11:4-6, NLT)
It might seem humorous to us, but their endless lack of gratitude, their refusal to grow in faith,
was a sin with serious consequences!
∙ Their community cohesion broke down and they formed factions that fought with each other.
∙ They turned on their leadership time and again, which cost them dearly.
∙ Ultimately, their complaining destroyed their faith and their relationship with the Lord. This led them to refuse the Lord’s plan outright. After about a year of travel, of training, of receiving God’s Law - it was time to enter Canaan and take possession of God’s promise, but they would not do it!
And, the great tragedy was that at that moment, the Lord gave them what they wanted. He told them that they would spend the next 40 years living in the desert, wandering around in circles, until the last person of the faithless generation had died off! Only then, would their children be permitted to enter the Promised Land.
"But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it." (Numbers 14:21-23, NLT)