Summary: No complaining

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The Folly of Complaining

Numbers 11:1-15

John Shearhart

May 15, 2011

Tonight I’m going to talk to you about the folly of complaining. I guess it’s human nature to complain when we see something we don’t like, but it seems particularly out of place in a church. After all, aren’t we the redeemed of the Lord? Aren’t we the ones who’ve been snatched from the fire and hope in the eternal glory of life with our Lord? Aren’t we the ones who’ve been given faith and hope and love?

And yet there are many of us who complain on a fairly consistent basis. To be fair we have to admit that there are certainly some among us who are unregenerate. They produce the works of the flesh because that’s the only fruits their nature can afford.

But there are just as certainly many regenerate who complain and disobey the Scriptures.

My hope in preaching this message is to help those of you who will submit to our Lord’s words to stop complaining—to take heed and to die to self. My hope is that the love and unity of our church will be strengthened and that God will be glorified when His people obey His command to do everything without complaining and that our testimony will cause all men to praise Him.

To begin let’s look to the Old Testament. The Lord has miraculously brought His people out of the land of bondage, given them His Law, led them in a cloud by day and fire by night, and provided their needs.

But that wasn’t enough, so they started whining about what they didn’t have:

And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. 3And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them. 4And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. 8And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. 10Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. 11And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? 12Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? 13Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. 14I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. 15And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness (Num. 11:1-15).

Well there you have it. All their complaining only made things harder on everyone. Not one ounce of good came from their weeping against the Lord.

With this as a backdrop let’s make some observations and lay out some application:

#1- Complaining is sin

If it’s not enough to see the Lord’s attitude towards the Israelites in Numbers, then how about a straightforward and simple command from the New Testament?

Do all things without murmurings and disputings (Phil. 2:14).

Murmurings is a word which means a “secret debate.”

Disputings means to deliberate about what’s true in your thoughts. It’s elsewhere translated as “evil thoughts” (Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Jas. 2:4). Paul tells Timothy that men should lift up holy hands without wrath and “doubting” (I Tim. 2:8).

The point is that these inwards debates about truth aren’t good—they’re evil. There’s this complaining in their minds; there’s a general dissatisfaction, and it’s sin.

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