Summary: The problem with grumbling is that it’s contagious. Like a virus it was spreading through their camp…it spreads through families, it spreads through churches … it is highly contagious. Look at v. 2. “then the whole congregation of the children of Israe
“Why me, Lord?”
Take a look at this picture. Have you seen it before? (Picture is of a man eating a bowl of soup and a piece of bread and bowing in thanks) You will find this picture hanging in many homes as a reminder that we should always be thankful for our daily bread. The story that behind this painting goes like this. In a town in northern Minnesota an older man who was homeless, knocked on the door of the home of an artist. The artist was talented but he was struggling to sell his painting and make a living. The homeless man had come to beg for a bite to eat.
All the artist had was a simple meal to offer of soup and bread but he invited the man into his home to share what he had. As the artist was getting something from his refrigerator he turned back and saw the old man bow his head in prayer. And this created an image in his mind, an image of thankfulness and gratitude and contentment. And that is when he painted this picture. Can you imagine for a moment being homeless, having no money in your pocket, no way to provide your most basic need—food?
That describes the situation of the Israelites as they were traveling through the desert to get to their new home in Canaan. They were rapidly running out of water and they had no food. Now it is believed that the size of this group of Israelites numbered about 2 million people.
Question. Have you ever been hungry before? You say well I’m kind of hungry right now…coffee and a donut would be great. I mean really hungry. When someone gets hungry and has not been able to eat for several days they can often become very grumpy. Some of us get that way if we don’t get to eat lunch on time. So can you imagine what this must have been like to be leading a group of about 2 million grumpy people. That was the job Moses was facing.
No store to go to…no Publix, no WalMart to go to…no time to stop and plant a garden and besides that they were in the middle of the desert. The Israelites believed that God was leading them to a new land but they didn’t believe 100% of the time. When things were good they would stop and praise the Lord and worship Him. And at that time they were happy with the leadership Moses was providing. But as soon as things turned bad they did exactly what you and I do……they began to complain. The Bible says they began to grumble. It is a truth that I realized years ago and you know it to be true as well.
Here it is. (1) People who grumble can always find something to grumble about. Here they were in this journey—they had come into the wilderness—they had been traveling for about 5 days—just freed from slavery under Pharaoh… v. 2 then puts it this way. Then the whole congregation of Israel complained again Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. Look at v. 3.
At this point we realize that the Israelites had learned a sum total of nothing from their past experience. And unfortunately we are the same way. Trials come along and we fall apart, we lose trust in our leadership and we lose trust in God. And all we know to do at that particular time is to complain. So why do we do that? Well basically grumbling is a gratitude problem. In other words we just are very grateful…..we’re not content with our lives. We grumble when pain or problems enter our lives. And we do it because we don’t think we deserve for these things to happen to us. We think that instead of pain we should always have pleasure; we think that instead of adversity we should always have prosperity. The truth is we need to take a moment and review the past and remember all of the things God has done. Stop and count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done. Hmm. That could be a song.
Last Friday I came in to the church office, two of our volunteers were here and I started telling them about all the stuff that was not going well, I just spent 400.00 on my car, our washing machine seems to be going out and now it looks like the car needs more work, one of the volunteers had a problem with her water softener and it had broken down even though she had already had it worked on and the other was having to move because of the damage from our recent tropical storm and before you know it we were having a nice little pity party. Why? Because I started it. After we were done I told them I was preaching on complaining today and I needed to practice.