For those of you who check our site regularly for blogs, I am sorry that I have not blogged for a couple weeks. I was away at a conference where I had almost no access to anything electronic and then I got back and was a little swamped trying to catch up. Anyway, I’m back and hopefully you weren’t complaining about my lack of blogs because this blog is all about not complaining…
This morning in my devotions I was hanging out in the book of Exodus and I came across a verse that struck me in a different way than when I have read it before. It was in Exodus 16, where we find the people of Israel on their way to the Promised land. God has already brought them miraculously across the Red Sea and delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians. In chapter 15 we see them complaining because they are thirsty and God miraculously provides water for them to drink. Then when we arrive in chapter 16 we see them complaining to Moses once again, only this time it is because they are hungry. They actually say that they were better off when they were slaves in Egypt, because at least there they had plenty to eat.
So God decides to miraculously provide food for them to eat and Moses and Aaron call a meeting of the people to tell them the good news. We read about what they said to the people in Exodus 16:6b-8, “In the evening you will realize that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glorious presence of the Lord. He has heard your complaints, which are against the Lord and not against us. The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.” (NLT)
Typically, when I have looked at this passage I have focused on how sad it is that the people of Israel were complaining again already after they had seen God deliver them from Egypt and bring them safely across the Red Sea. But this time, I noticed this point that Moses makes about how their complaints were really complaints against God. I had never really thought about who they thought they were complaining against. Maybe they blamed Moses and Aaron for the situation they found themselves in? Maybe they blamed the land for not producing what was needed to provide them with water and food? But regardless of who they thought they were complaining against, ultimately their complaints were really against God. They were complaining that God was not taking care of them.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I complain sometimes too. When things aren’t going my way, I complain. When I do that, I think I am complaining against whoever or whatever the problem is. For instance, I might complain against the government when they do something I don’t agree with or when they take too much taxes out of my paycheck. Or I might complain against my job, when things are tough. Or I might complain about the price of gas or food or whatever else I need to buy. I figure these complaints are harmless and I am just letting off steam and looking for someone to blame, but ultimately when I complain, I am complaining against God.
Ultimately my trust is not in the government, or my job, or the economy. Ultimately my trust is in God. So when I complain, it shows a lack of trust in God’s provision. And that is not an attitude I want to have.
We are reminded in I Thessalonians 5:16-18 to, “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT again) That is the attitude that I am supposed to have. Even in the face of tough times I am to be joyful, and give thanks. I can pray and ask God to take care of me, but not with a spirit of complaining, but rather with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving, and complete trust in God.