Coach Lou Holtzwas quoted as saying, “Never tell your problems to anyone...20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” Holtz has a great sense of humor; let’s just hope his findings are inaccurate! Most people don’t want to spend their time listening to others complain. As I write this, I recall a person I used to avoid taking phone calls from because his pattern was to grumble at great lengths about his circumstances. By the end of the call I was irritated. This person never seemed to be happy feeling only bad things were afoot.
Numbers 14:26-28—Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron: “How long must I endure this evil community that keeps complaining about Me? I have heard the Israelites’ complaints that they make against Me. Tell them: As surely as I live,” this is the LORD’s declaration, “I will do to you exactly as I heard you say.”
God set the Israelites up for success. First, He miraculously rescued them from Egypt. Second, He preserved them as they traveled through the desert. When they reached the border of Canaan with the promise of His blessing to inherit the land, instead ten of the twelve spies complained that the task of defeating the inhabitants was impossible. Their words infected the whole community who then universally cried out to Moses, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness. Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and little children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (14:2,3)
The Lord was so offended by their lack of faith and incessant complaining that He punished them in accordance with their whining. Not one adult over the age of twenty, except Caleb and Joshua, survived the desert. “If only” was the epitaph on each grave. What a powerful reminder to us to be careful what we say—God might just grant our wish.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” Complaining is just the opposite; sour to the taste and rot to the bones. James taught, “Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged . . .” (James 5:9). God does not like complaining. Neither should we. Think of Jesus and be like Him. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7a). The perfect Son of God endured insult, blasphemy, betrayal and crucifixion yet never protested the unfairness or whined to His followers. His silence was the roar of praise and shout of faith to His Father to whom He entrusted His life. Let us do the same.
To complain against God is in effect to deny His holiness and to say He is not fair.—Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness (Jerry passed away on 3/6/16, a man who feared God and who helped many in their pursuit of holiness).
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)