“Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
Friend To Friend
Grumbling is as old as Methuselah. Actually, it goes way back before him. After Satan enticed Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit, there was a whole lot of grumbling going on.
“The wife You gave me made me do it,” Adam complained.
“The serpent You created made me do it,” Eve whined.
And the grumbling didn’t stop there. From Genesis to Revelation the grumbling rolls like human thunder.
Perhaps one of the most vivid portraits of grumbling is found in Exodus when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. God’s chosen people had been in servitude to the Egyptians for four-hundred years. During that time, they had been “fruitful and multiplied greatly.” In other words, they had a lot of babies. They were “exceedingly numerous so that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1:7). The Egyptian King feared that the Israelites would rebel and attempt to take over the kingdom, so he made them slaves in order to thwart a future uprising.
For four-hundred years the Israelites served under the whip of the Egyptian task masters. Then one day, God took note of their affliction and heard their cries for deliverance. So God chose Moses to be the deliverer of the Hebrew nation. What follows Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush in Midian is one of the most powerful stories in Scripture. Moses did indeed lead over a million Israelites out of Egypt and on toward the Promised Land of Canaan.
But there were many roadblocks along the way, including the Hebrews’ grumbling and unbelief. They grumbled because the drinking water was bitter, so God made it sweet (Exodus 15:23-25). They grumbled about the lack of food, so God brought forth manna from heaven (Exodus 16). They grumbled about the lack of meat, so God rained down quail from the sky (Exodus 16). Again, they grumbled because of the lack water, so God sprang up water from a rock. They grumbled about the leadership selection, so God caused Aaron’s rod, a dead piece of wood, to bud, bloom and bear fruit (Numbers 17:8).
How did God feel about their grumbling and complaining?
“Now the people complained about their hardship in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down” (Exodus 11:1).
You would have thought they would learn their lesson from this fiery experience. Unfortunately, while God’s wrath burned the camp, it did not brand the message on their hearts. Finally, God had had enough of their grumbling and even Moses’ prayers could not stop His wrath. He forbade that generation to enter the Promised Land and they died in the desert because of their unbelief and grumbling.
Have you ever considered the idea that grumbling and complaining could be keeping you out of God’s Promised Land for your life? We’re going to stop with the Israelites in the desert and think about that for a bit but join me tomorrow and we’ll discover how to remove the roadblock of grumbling and get going again.
Dear LORD, I confess that I grumble and complain way too much. Help me to have a grateful heart for all that You have given me. Today, I commit to turn my grumbling into gratefulness and my complaining into contentment.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
You may want to get a roll of quarters for this exercise.
Every time you complain today, stop and take a quarter out of your purse.
Every time you grumble today, stop and take a quarter out of your purse.
At the end of the day, gather those quarters and give them to someone.
If you would like to do this exercise with your children, give each one a roll of nickels. Ask them to give up a nickel every time they grumble or complain. At the end of the week, they get to keep what they did not have to surrender.
Today’s devotion is taken from Sharon’s book, In this book, you can explore the power you possess, the people you impact, the potential for change, and the profound possibilities. As you harness this mighty force, you will begin to use words to speak life to those around you. Get one for yourself, or gather a group of girlfriends to learn and grow together.