When we read the stories of the situations that prompted the Israelites to complain and murmur, we can almost understand why they did so. At Marah the water was bitter, in the Sin Desert there was no meat or bread, and at Rephidim there was no water at all! However, these same Israelites had seen the miraculous hand of God at work on their behalf when the plagues came against Egypt. They had been supernaturally rescued from bondage and slavery in Egypt, and because of the miraculous provision of the Lord, had walked across the Red Sea on dry land while their enemies were destroyed behind them. However, immediately after their “Red Sea deliverance,” we find them complaining at Marah because the water was bitter. Then, after the Lord turned the bitter waters at Marah sweet and led them to an oasis at Elim, they complained again when they had no meat in the Sin Desert. Finally, after the Lord miraculously provided manna and quail from heaven, they were still complaining when they reached Rephidim, and couldn’t find any water. Over and over they had experienced the Lord miraculously working on their behalf, but every time they ran into adversity they returned to griping and complaining.
Question – “Are you ever a complainer – and what makes you complain?” Do you ever find yourself griping and complaining to the Lord about the difficulties you’ve experienced in life, even though the Lord has provided for you and rescued you time after time after time? The Lord doesn’t have a good opinion of complaining and murmuring. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “God was not pleased with most of them (our Israelite ancestors), and He destroyed them all in the desert” (1 Corinthians 10:5). He went on to say that the Lord wasn’t pleased with most of the Israelites because of their idolatry (at Mount Sinai), their sexual immorality (23,000 were destroyed for this in one day), and their grumbling and complaining (1 Corinthians 10:6-10). The Lord must truly dislike grumbling and complaining when He compares it to idolatry and immorality.
Second Question – “What does grumbling and complaining represent or reflect in our lives?” Apparently it represents and reflects ingratitude, faithlessness and distrust in the Lord, among other things. Also, it is detested by the Lord. If we’re going to walk in victory in our lives and continue to experience the supernatural provision of the Lord, we’re going to have to rid ourselves of grumbling and complaining attitudes and walk in faith with a “gratitude attitude” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
As you pray today: 1) Pray that the Lord will reveal to you any grumbling or complaining attitudes or actions you’ve demonstrated – and repent of such; 2) Ask the Lord to enable you every day to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything”; and 3) Pray that the Lord will enable you to set a good example to others every day of your life, regardless of the adversity or difficulties you’re experiencing.