The Bible reminds us (in Matthew 7:5 & Luke 6:42, among others) to look at our own problems before we point out other people’s issues. Today’s topic might step on a few toes, so, let’s do a quick self-inventory. Do any of these statements ring a bell?
- This restaurant is always so slow. What does it take to get decent service around here?
- I don’t know why I bother. It’s not going to make a difference, anyway.
- I hate my job/boss/class/teacher/co-worker/life …
- Ugh, it’s Monday again.
- I’m no good at that/I just can’t do it/I’m the world’s worst …
- Why do bad things always happen to me? I can never catch a break.
If those comments sound familiar, then you are not alone. The Israelites were skilled complainers. In Exodus 15, verse 22 and following, the people of Israel were griping about how bad the water tasted. (Hello, Waco? Sound familiar?) God gave Moses instructions on how to fix it, but that didn’t keep them quiet for very long. In the next chapter, God provided miraculous food (literally, from thin air) for the wandering Israelites to eat, yet they still murmured. In chapter 17, God even made water flow out of a rock!
By the time chapter 20 rolled around, Moses was sick and tired of the complaining. He lost his temper in front of God and all of the Israelites, and instead of speaking God’s instructions to provide miraculous water from another rock, Moses snapped at the people: “Listen, rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” and slammed his staff against the rock. (Notice how he said we and not God.) God still performed a miracle and made the water gush out, but right then and there, Moses lost his opportunity to lead the people of Israel into the promised land.
The constant complaining … and Moses’ poor reaction to it … cost him dearly. Think about your own life for a moment. What tone of voice have your last few conversations taken? What have your last few Facebook posts looked like? What was the last thing you said to your kids? Parents? Spouse? Take an honest look at how much you complain, then commit to praying through the issues this week with us.
Originally posted May 15, 2011