Against Whom Are We Complaining? – Part 2

Friday, May 3, 2019

“So Moses and Aaron said, ‘The Lord… has heard your grumbling against him.  Who are we, that you should grumble against us?’” (Exodus 16:7 NIV)

The Israelites were not happy when they were led from the oasis of Elim to the desert between Elim and Sinai in their journey to the Promised Land.

Notice that when the people complained about where they were, God took it personally.  And the same goes for us.  When you and I grumble about what we’re going through, God considers it a complaint against him.  The Israelites turned and began to attack Moses and Aaron with their words.  That’s what happens when you get frustrated and things aren’t going your way:  you take it out on those around you.  You take it out on your mother, your husband, your wife, your in-laws, your pastor, another believer… whomever.

Haven’t we all responded that way at times, following the base human instinct to lash out when we don’t like what’s going on?  We vent against somebody else.  And here were the Israelites, venting against Moses and Aaron as if they were the ones moving the cloud.  But it was God who was moving the cloud that led them by day and the pillar of fire that led them by night in the wilderness.  It was God who had led them to that place.  They couldn’t accept that, however.  They acted like little children—the way we all act sometimes.  We get frustrated, and we get angry with people.  Sadly, that anger against people can last for years, and the root of it is our own carnality and the fact that we don’t like what’s happening in our lives.

But notice the interesting thing that God taught them through this.  Moses told them that the Lord was saying, in essence, “When you complain because you don’t like the situation, you have to know that I was the one who led you into the situation.   I permitted it.  In your grumbling, you’re not complaining about Moses and Aaron.  You’re complaining about me as if I didn’t know how to manage your life, as if I didn’t know what’s going on, as if things were beyond my control.  I take that personally.  I’m in the hardships, and I’m in the good times. I have lessons for you on the mountain, but I also have lessons for you in the valley."

Don’t we need to be reminded of these truths as well?  How tragic to be simplistic, comfort-driven Christians who think that when it feels good, God is good; and when it feels bad, we have the right to complain, “Where are you God?” and “Why is everybody against me?”  I don’t want to be like that.  Do you?  No, we should want to praise the Lord in the good times and also in the difficult times.  Remember that “all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)!

Read Exodus 16:4-8.

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