Many people seem to have reason to complain…indeed people can be in situations where they think they have the RIGHT to complain (i.e., crowded work situations, dangerous work situations, unpleasant work situations.

God’s Anger at Complainers

Numbers 11:1-14:45 — Obviously, God was very unhappy with His people in the wilderness. 

Num. 11:1-3 — They were NOT going to God, NOT seeking for answers…but instead they were angry, dishonoring of Him, talking among themselves! God blesses us so much, and we wind up hoarding due to greed, which then leads us into self-destruction and complaining. 

Num. 12 — The complaining happens even among “leaders”. 

Num. 13-14 — The complaining evolved into rebelling even, because of giants in the land.

Num. 16:1-50 — Korah rebelled because wanted leadership position, too. MORE murmuring at the end of the chapter. All of these chapters we have looked at are negative!

God hates: 

(1) To be judged as not good. That’s what was behind their complaining. God will not put up with that.  Yes, life is suffering for everyone, but that does NOT mean God is not good.

(2) To have His gifts forgotten. It was important for them to be grateful. It is important for us to be grateful. 

(3) To be rejected. We wind up turning from God and going after other things. 

I am sympathetic with God because I do not like these things done toward me. 

Jude 1:14-16 — Individuals with the same attitudes as those in the wilderness. “Harsh things ungodly sinners speak against Him.” Arrogant! Ungrateful! Judging God! See the effect of negativity and complaining! We PLANT negativity in the minds of others in our complaining! (E.g., while in college, a peer of Erica’s told her that she could not stand the voice of a third peer.  Erica has spent a considerable time around the third peer, and not once had she thought of that voice.  Every time thereafter, the sound of that voice grated against her. She remembers that third girl to this day…for her grating voice!) 

Do Not Complain 

Philippians 2:14-18 — Paul was writing in DIFFICULT times, but difficult times give us the opportunity to handle life in different ways than those in the world around us. Yes, it is a tremendous challenge, but we are called to be different.  We CAN learn to change our words, to change our attitudes!  (E.g., farmer on a wagon wrecked when hit by a truck. The police that arrived shot the horse, because he was too severely hurt, then shot the dog for the same reason. When the police asked the wagon driver how he was (though he had several broken bones), “I have never felt better!!”) 

1 Corinthians 10:10 — Do not complain and die as they did. 

1 Peter 4:9 — Be hospitable without complaint. Do not put negativity on the positive you are trying to do! Whining is not only graceless, but it is dangerous. 

[Quote by Maya Angelou:

When my grandmother was raising me in Stamps, Arkansas, she had a particular routine when people who were known to be whiners entered her store. Whenever she saw a known complainer coming, she would call me from whatever I was doing and say conspiratorially, “Sister, come inside. Come.” Of course I would obey.

My grandmother would ask the customer, “How are you doing today, Brother Thomas?” And the person would reply, “Not so good.” There would be a distinct whine in the voice. “Not so good today, Sister Henderson. You see, it’s this summer. It’s this summer heat. I just hate it. Oh, I hate it so much. It just frazzles me up and frazzles me down. I just hate the heat. It’s almost killing me.” Then my grandmother would stand stoically, her arms folded, and mumble, “uh-huh, uh-huh.” And she would cut her eyes at me to make certain that I had heard the lamentation.

At another time, a whiner would mewl, “I hate plowing. That packed-down dirt ain’t got no reasoning, and mules ain’t got good sense….Sure ain’t. It’s killing me. I can’t ever seem to get done. my feet and my hands stay sore, and I get dirt in my eyes and up my nose. I just can’t stand it.” And my grandmother, again stoically, with her arms folded, would say, “Uh-huh, uh-huh,” and then look at me and nod.

As soon as the complainer was out of the store, my grandmother would call me to stand in front of her. And then she would say the same thing she had said at least a thousand times, it seemed to me. “Sister, did you hear what Brother So-and-So or Sister Much to Do complained about? You heard that? And I would nod. Mamma would continue, “Sister, there are people who went to sleep all over the world last night, poor and rich, and white and black, but they will never wake again. Sister, those who expected to rise did not, their beds became their cooling boards, and their blankets became their winding sheets. And those dead folks would give anything, anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of that plowing that person was grumbling about. So you watch yourself about complaining, Sister. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

It is said that persons have few teachable moments in their lives. Mamma seemed to have caught me at each one I had between the age of three and thirteen. Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.


Antidotes for Complaining: 

(1) Find Solutions to the Problem 

Acts 6:1-7 — The problem was solved.  It is NOT wrong to bring up a problem (this was a problem that had the possibility of ripping apart the early church!). 

Some do not want to hear about problems, but the apostles listened… Be willing to hear. This sermon is NOT about shutting us up, not about ignoring the problems! Sometimes when we are really hurting, we NEED to talk to someone. 

(2) Rejoice in the Lord

Philippians 4:4-7 — God has done the most wonderful thing for us in sending Jesus Christ.  We can rejoice in that, despite whatever difficult circumstances we are going through.  Do not forget this good gift of Jesus Christ!  It can offset ANY negative. 

(3) Learn Contentment  

Philippians 4:11 (1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5) -—See the GOOD in your life. Our culture wants us to be discontented.  Why? Because they want us to buy their products! Discontentment is out of hand in our culture. 

(4) Entrust Souls to God

1 Peter 4:12-19 — Discontentment turns us into victims! Life is going to be HARD for both the righteous and the ungodly.  Entrusting our souls to the Creator is the OPPOSITE of the attitude of the Israelites in the wilderness. 

I saw a picture of dog standing upright on his two hind legs (because the front legs were gone).  Will I have the same determination in the face of my personal challenges?

—Robert Lee, 7-23-06, a.m.

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