Rightful Complaint?

Posted: March 4, 2015 in devotionals, Numbers, thought to ponder
Tags: , ,
I am an Ambassador of Christ, disguised as a guy who serves coffee.

I am an Ambassador of Christ, disguised as a guy who serves coffee.

When I was a barista, back in the days when I served coffee for a living, there are two things that I was trained to do. The first one is to get the customer’s name right, and the second is to make sure that I get the coffee correctly. We have seen our glaring errors in social media when we misspell a customer’s name and we have our fair share of customers who would change an entire cup because his or her name is misspelled. The second thing we need to get is to have the correct order, specially when it comes to the coffee. After all, the store I worked for is known for having the best service when it comes to coffee. So why am I talking about this? You see, customers feel that they have the sense of entitlement because they paid for their coffee, and mind you, it is expensive. The question is, do we, as Christians, have the right to complain? How do we feel when things are not going our way?

(Read Numbers 11 – 21)

Studying the book of Numbers, we can see how the Israelites, in spite of having God with them, constantly complained again and again to a point that they were punished with wandering around the desert for 40 years, until an entire generation died. Let’s look at their complaints.

#1 The Israelites complained about their misfortunes (Numbers 11:1)

#2 The Israelites complained about food (Numbers 11:4)

#3 Moses’ older siblings complained about his leadership (Numbers 12)

#4 Ten says “no”, Two says “go” (Numbers 13-14)

#5 Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16)

#6 The Israelites complained about water (Numbers 20:2-9)

#7 The Israelites complained about food and water (Numbers 21:4-9)

Were the concerns of the Israelites legitimate? They were complaining loudly in such a way that the Lord heard them (Numbers 11:1). Wasn’t God faithful in showing His hand when he delivered them out of Egypt? Wasn’t the miracles enough? Couldn’t they see the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night? Wasn’t God’s provision enough? They could taste the food of heaven yet they complained. Wasn’t the way God provided for them enough?

Then I look at myself. I realized that I am as guilty as the Israelites.

When God provided for me for my needs (tuition fee, room, food, credits for my phone) yet I still look at other people and say…”If only I could have that“.

When God spared me from being sick while a lot of people are dying around me, I still have the nerve to say “I’d be more comfortable if I have this and that…”

I realized that there are a lot of times when I whine or complain more than praise God.

I am no different than the Israelites.

But God, in His mercy, didn’t wipe me out (yet). He showed grace instead. The lesson in the book of Numbers is simple. Complaining is a sin. Complaining shows the lack of faith towards God who provides. Complaining shows what is the object of affection of our hearts. Usually, it is the self.

So when we find ourselves complaining, go back to Scriptures. Look at what God did to the Israelites. We still have a chance to turn back. Repent. Learn to give praise instead…even in the darkest night and deepest valley, choose to praise instead of complain. 

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