When I don’t like something, complaining about it is my default response. Sometimes it’s out loud. Other times it’s in my head. Are you also like that? A friend challenged me to explain why God didn't like it when we complained. The answer was so interesting, I had to share it with you.
I'm going to define complaining as
voicing your discontent out loud or in your head. We’ve all heard stories about the children of Israel but surprisingly, they’re not the only murmurers in God’s
I want to look at just five reasons why discontent is so distasteful to God.
If we’re complaining, we’re not meditating on God’s word. Jehovah told us to meditate on His word day and night (Joshua 1:8). We should constantly be reading the Bible.
Talking about what we’ve read and thinking about it. When we’re busy being miserable, that all goes through the door.
Complaining robs us of our strength. When we search the Psalms we find many examples of God’s people pouring their hearts out before Jehovah until they’re physically weak.
One example of this is Psalms 77:1-9 where Asaph complained until his spirit was overwhelmed… He grumbled until he passed out.
When we’re so focused on self we forget to focus on Christ: the source of our strength.
What right do we have to complain? Jeremiah asked a hard question
in Lamentations 3:39 – why should a living man complain when punished for his
We were created and given everything to meet our needs. Yes, maybe we don’t have enough by the world’s standards or even our own, but-
Sometimes we forget that we can’t do anything without God. John 15:5. The very breath that we intake, comes from God. Even though we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, God still shows us mercy.
Complaining becomes a culture and soon we can do nothing else. Remember the children of Israel? I know what you’re thinking: "Finally!" Talk about a bunch of whiners. They complained while they were in Egypt (Exodus 3:7, 5:21).
They murmured in the wilderness (Exodus 14:11-12). They didn’t like the water (Exodus 15:24, 17:3) or the food (Exodus 16:3, Numbers 11:5-6).
They became such a nation of grumblers that by the time Jesus began His ministry they couldn’t see him as the Messiah. They only saw all the rules that Jesus broke – another thing to complain about.
Complaints block our trust in Jehovah and leads to forgetfulness. Like the children of Israel we forget God’s faithfulness and all the wonderful He does for us every day.
Related: Who Is God?
The Bible has quite a lot to say about murmuring and complaining. Here are just a few verses:
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9 ESV ).
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp (Numbers 11:1 ESV).
Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? (Lamentations 3:39 ESV)
And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:7-8 ESV).
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down (Numbers 11:1-2 ESV).
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door (James 5:9 ESV).
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29 ESV).
Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves (John 6:43 ESV).
Almighty God, we surrender this complaining spirit to You and pray that You’ll replace it with one of praise. Help us to praise you more for the things You’ve given us and complain less about the things we don’t have. Help us to give honor and glory to your name. Amen.
Do you sometimes display a complaining spirit? How do you stop the grumbling when it starts?
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