«How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me» (Numbers 14:27).
IN THEIR JOURNEY through the wilderness, the people of God made countless mistakes, but the most common one was complaining. Their whining, murmuring spirit displeased God greatly, since it showed disapproval of what they received from Him, anger over divine decisions, and a lack of trust in the One who had just freed them from slavery. Let us recall some of those times.
When they arrived at Marah and could not drink the water because it was bitter, the people got angry and murmured against Moses (Exodus 15:23, 24). When they camped in Rephidim and there was no water for them to drink, they complained to Moses, throwing in his face the fact that he had taken them out of Egypt to kill them with thirst (Exodus 17:1—3). When Moses did not return from Sinai, they complained about his delay (Exodus 32). Even Miriam and Aaron, Moses’s siblings, complained about him because he had married an Ethiopian and grumbled insinuations that they, too, had been chosen by God as leaders of Israel. The Lord got angry with them and had to intervene to make them see their error (see Numbers 12:1—9).
God does not like to have us complain, criticize, or speak ill about anyone, not even about members of our own family. «How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me?’ is the Lord’s reaction time after time. This question denotes tiredness and weariness on His part, and who wants to weary and tire the Lord with an incessant attitude? I definitely do not want to.
Our habit of complaining does not go unnoticed by God or by others, either. Our way of letting off steam is not consistent with Christian virtues. «Do all things without complaining and disputing,» we read in Philippians 2:14. «Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves»‘ (John grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!» (James 5:9, NIV). Do you know what the problem is? Complaining keeps us inactive, and if we do nothing to resolve the problems, they will remain there, so we will continue having reasons to complain. It is a vicious circle that we should break. How? By doing what is in our power to resolve the situations, and if it is not in our power, to entrust them to the Lord in faith.