July 10, 2020

Complain, Complain

Numbers 11:1-9

Now the people complained. . . .

—  Numbers 11:1

Complaining can seem like a favorite pastime for many of us. We complain about the weather and what we have to wear. We complain about food and finding nothing to do. We complain about traffic and technology.

Complaining was second nature for Israel during the wilderness years. In our passage, Israel was only three days into their wilderness journey when they started to complain. They complained about their hardships and the wilderness food. They wanted something different from the manna they had to eat, day in and day out. The food they had eaten in Egypt seemed so much better.

Life, like the wilderness, can be hard, but when we complain, we fall into the devil’s trap. When we complain, we tend to glamorize what we don’t have. Did they really have it better in Egypt? Somehow the people completely forgot the hardships they had endured there as slaves. When we complain, we tend to see life in a distorted way. Grumbling flows from people who think they deserve something better.

Paul calls us to do everything without grumbling (Philippians 2:14). Is this possible? Yes, when we learn to concentrate on God’s grace in Christ. How can we complain so often when we know we are loved by God? His grace can move us from grumbling to gratitude.

Father, every good and perfect gift comes from you (James 1:17). Help us to be content and thankful. Forgive us when we grumble, and help us to be content in you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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