People are so prone to complaining in the society in which we live but they have always had this tendency. It just seems to be more pronounced in times of prosperity. Things are not always going to go as we expected or had hoped. How do we react when this happens? Do we begin to murmur and complain as did the Israelites after they were delivered from Egyptian bondage? They had no water and they complained and God gave them water from the bitter waters of Marah. They were hungry and complained and God gave them Manna every day. They complained and loathed that Manna after time had passed and longed for meat. God gave them meat in the form of quails until it ran out their nostrils. God was displeased with their murmuring and complaining.

God hasn’t changed and He is still displeased and angry when people begin to complain just as He was with Israel of old. We read in Numbers 11:1: “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” The Bible is silent on this occasion on why they were complaining but God was angry and sent fiery judgment, perhaps where the complaints were so aggressive in the uttermost parts of the camp. God doesn’t send literal fire to destroy us today but He does send His chastening hand so that we would remember how good He is and that we are to be thankful we don’t get what we deserve. We deserve swift justice but God tempers his judgment with His mercy.

We complain because we have to get up and go to work but fail to be thankful we have a job in the first place. We complain because we don’t have exactly what we want to eat on the table, not considering of the thousands that have very little to eat. We complain if the preacher preaches past noon a few minutes but think nothing of staying at a ball game that goes into overtime. The list seems to be endless. Paul writes, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” (Phil. 2:14). Children complain that they have to take out the trash or clean up their room. Parents then complain because their children won’t do what they are told when they are told, not realizing it is their responsibility to ensure their obedience. This is not doing all things without murmuring.

Why are we to do all things without murmurings and disputings. Paul doesn’t leave us in the dark as he writes, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil. 2:15). We are to shine as lights in the world and be found blameless and harmless manifesting the love of God within. Paul tells us in this context that it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. However, He doesn’t do it for us; we must do it for ourselves and thus work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

There are many things that might cause us to be cast down and complain that the Lord has forsaken us. A Psalm that is attributed to Asaph demonstrates this very well. “I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.” (Psalm 77:3). We would think that remembering the Lord would not cause a troubled heart but here it did and the heart was subsequently overwhelmed. Here he remembered the goodness of God in times past and deliverance and couldn’t understand why He seemed to be silent in present circumstances. He even asked the questions, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.” (Psalm 77:7-9). Where did Asaph find his answer? It was in the sanctuary of God and it is still so today. Asaph then remembered the Lord in a proper way and got relief in the remembrances of God’s mercy and grace just as Jeremiah did when he thought his hope had perished from the Lord. As a result of this remembrance, Jeremiah wrote, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23)

David complained about the wicked prospering in the world and without the rod of God being upon them while he was plagued and chastened every day. It was too painful for him to think about at times. Where and when did he get relief? The scripture tells us, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;  Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. ” (Psalm 73:16-17). Once again David found his answer in the sanctuary of God. The end of the wicked is eternal banishment and punishment by God whereas the end of the righteous is eternal joy in heaven and immortal glory.

Our hearts may be overwhelmed at times by the issues of life but Jesus told the disciples to not let their heart be troubled; believe in Him as they did God. His promises are true and will be carried out as He has promised never to leave or forsake His children. Drop the anchor of hope and escape the battering on the rocks of life. Pray to God as did David because there is a Rock that is unshaken and ever there for His children. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)–January 21, 2016–Elder Larry Wise


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About wisepb

Pastor: Bethany Primitive Baptist Church
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