Lucia's Blog: GRUMBLING AND COMPLAINING
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

GRUMBLING AND COMPLAINING

 "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear 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 2:14-15


Is it normal for us to be complaining so much about everything?  Why don't we think about this for a few minutes?  The Bible shows us that this is a reproach on us in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Complaining seems to be the norm for our society.  I've noticed that many conversations are complaints about our government, the economy, the taxes we pay, and even our weather.  Some Christians complain about the sermon being too long, too dry or too pointed. Others complain that the congregation is too small, too large, too cold or too impersonal. When one reads the pages of the Old Testament, he will immediately notice that complaining, grumbling, and disputing were grave sins which brought great judgment from God. The Israelites were an excellent example of those who loved to complain, grumble and dispute.  Though God had delivered them from Egyptian slavery and took care of them, they were still dissatisfied. They wanted the food back in Egypt.  Undoubtedly, they cared more about good food and slavery than freedom from slavery and the food God provided for them. The Israelites had a hard time trusting in God.  They refused to depend on God through faith to take care of them.

Not much has changed today.  Why?  Because we Christians forget that we have been freed from the slavery of sin by the blood of Christ.  Yet, we often choose to be unhappy, ungrateful and selfish. We don't hesitate to show our unhappiness or discontent about the church, the gospel, the preacher, the elders and our brethren.  Some enjoy complaining about everything that they don't like.  Like the Israelites of the Old Testament, they are full of grumbling, complaining and disputing.  God hates a grumbling and complaining heart.  Complaining and grumbling are the opposite of joy and gratitude. God wants His children to be content, grateful and joyful!

Perhaps our society has ruined us, making it harder for us to submit to each other as it should be.  It seems that our way is the only way that matters. We want everything done to suit our own lifestyle. We want what we want. We seem not to care enough about what others need. We’re so focused on our vanity and selfish desires that we become angry when we don’t get our way. We often complain, at times with venomous demeanor. We sometimes behave like spoiled children who throw a tantrum when they don't get what they want at the moment.  We develop the habit of complaining against God, His leaders, elders and one another.  It is nothing new!  It has been this way for centuries.  God and His messengers have been the focal point for people to grumble, complain and dispute.  Many of us in the Lord's church today are no different. Brethren complain, whine and argue against each other over the smallest of things.

God does not approve.  He commands that we repent of this sin!  This is a stumbling block for many. Have you noticed that those who love to whine, complain and argue, behave like children in many ways?  They easily give in to this sinful pattern. It all starts in the heart with our thoughts, moving quickly to negative spoken words.  Sadly many Christians don't realize that when they grumble and complain, they are actually complaining against God, their Creator!  Let us be careful!  To murmur means to grumble, whine or complain. In John 6:43, Jesus warns us not to grumble among ourselves.  This warning doesn't stop Christians from complaining, grumbling and disputing against each other.   This terrible sin is also found in the home. It seems as if nothing they see is good or enough.  Not only do we make our own lives miserable but we also make others miserable who do not deserve it.  The Word of God warns us often. We must overcome this sin because God has commanded that we  "do all things without murmuring or complaining."  Therefore, we must humbly seek God's help. This is a grave sin that will cost us our soul.

My prayer is that you and I may be edified and encouraged by God's precious pearls of wisdom that speak to our hearts, so that we can change these sinful patterns of grumbling, complaining and disputing, not only to please Him but to save our souls.  May the Lord help each of us to open our hearts with humility that we might be enlightened with His marvelous Truth and bear much fruit to His glory.


I.    DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT GRUMBLING, COMPLAINING, AND DISPUTING:
  • Why Do We Grumble?
Consider some common reasons why many complain, grumble and dispute:
  • We Grumble or Complain When We are Short-Sighted:
We are most likely to complain when we view our circumstances with a temporal perspective.  That is, our minds are set on the material things of this world, and not on the things that are above in heaven, (Col. 3:2).  That is what the Israelites did!  In the Old Testament, the Israelites were experts at grumbling!  They complained and grumbled about everything instead of humbly approaching God with prayer and thanksgiving. They didn't contemplate even the possibility that God was trying to teach them something through their circumstances. They even accused God of taking them out of Egypt to let them die.  What selfish people!  So what did God do in return?  He was amazingly patient and merciful toward them!  When they whined and complained, God sent them tons of quail. But in His longsuffering, He also disciplined them because of their constant ingratitude.  This ingratitude of heart is what complaining and grumbling are all about.

Consider the following Bible accounts of those who loved to complain and grumble.
  1. "Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you."  (Exodus 10:16).  When Pharaoh sin against Moses and Aaron, he was sinning against God.
  2. "And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness."  (Exodus 16:2).  They not only complained about Moses and Aaron but against their Jehovah God, (Exo. 16:8).
  3. "Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people, therefore, cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out." (Numbers 11:1-2).  When the Israelites complained, God sent fire among them that consumed them.
  4. "Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!"  (Numbers 14:1-2).  What did Joshua and Caleb tell them to do?  "Do not rebel against the LORD."  They were not only grumbling against Moses and Aaron but God also, (Numbers 14:9, 27).
  5. "They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”  (Numbers 16:3).  They rebelled against Jehovah God when they (the congregation of Korah) rebelled against Moses and Aaron.
  6. "Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?'  The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, chosen from the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the Lord."  (Num. 16:11, 28-41; 26:9).  The Israelites continued grumbling and murmuring because of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.  Korah took men from among the congregation who gathered together against Moses and Aaron unto the door of the Tabernacle. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them, and the LORD told Moses and Aaron saying, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.’ But they fell on their faces and said, ‘O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, will You be angry with the entire congregation?"  (Num. 16:26-32).  
  7. "But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting. And behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”'  (Num. 16:41-45).  Again, the Israelites began grumbling, gathering and rebelling against Moses and Aaron. 
  8. "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 'Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun.” 47 So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 49 Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped.'"  (Num. 16:46-50). Because of their complaining, God struck them with a plague that killed 14,700, besides those who died on account of Korah.
  9. "And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you."  (Num. 17:5, 10). 
  10. "And the people spoke against God and against Moses, 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.'"  (Numbers 21:5, 7).  
  11. "Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. The people spoke against God and Moses, 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.'  The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, 'We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.' And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.'  And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived."  (Numbers 21:4-9).  Serpents came and bit the grumblers.  
  12. Then we set out from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the Lord our God had commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-Barnea. I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the Lord our God is about to give us.  See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed... Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God;  and you grumbled in your tents and said, 'Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us... "  (Deuteronomy 1:19-46).  God made the Israelites wander for 40 years, then He kept the original adult people who left Egypt from entering the Promised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb. 
  13. "And said to him, 'Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.' 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, 'Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, 'Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.'"  (1 Samuel 8:5-7).  When Israel complained against Samuel and rejected him, they were rejecting and grumbling against God.
  14. In the New Testament, we also see many examples of this giant sin.  Consider the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, (Matt. 20:1-16).  Notice that although they had received their just due, they still murmured.  Think of the Pharisees who murmured against the disciples of Christ because they were eating and drinking with the publicans and sinners when in fact all they wanted to do was to strike our Lord, (Luke 5:29-32).  Their primary concern was their selfish interests.  They also murmured about Jesus being the Bread of life, (John 6:41).  They murmured instead of investigating the facts about His Truth. 
We can clearly see how God dealt with His whining children.  The Israelites never seem to be satisfied.  Yet they had everything to be thankful for!  God spared them and set them free from Egyptian slavery.  God performed many miracles for them.  He parted the waters of the sea so that they could walk across on dry ground.  God drowned the enemies.  He made water come out of rocks, and food from heaven appeared on the ground. In spite of all this, they chose to be selfish, stubborn and ungrateful. Their immediate reaction to problems was to complain against God, putting Him to the test and refusing to listen to His voice, (Numbers 14:22).  Their faith indeed was small.  Does that sound familiar?  Do we not often react like immature children before our God instead of focusing on the big picture, looking at all the options, having our eyes fixed on Jesus, (Heb. 12:1-2)? 
  • We Grumble When We Are Treated Unfairly:
When we are not getting what our hearts want (Are we not worthy of better?), and our rights are infringed in some way, we start whining and complaining.  You see, this is exactly how the Israelites felt.  They thought they deserved better than what they received.  Don't we often feel this way?  We demand that others drop everything to attend our needs.  We feel better when we demand that others treat us with more respect, more support, more consideration because we deserve it.  Be honest and ask yourself, why do I feel this way?  Who says we deserve all these things?  We are in no way more special than others.  We delude ourselves when we think that we are. So why complain?  Look around you and notice how many people on the face of this earth are suffering and have less than we have.  Why not be grateful for all the material blessings that we do have?!  It is far more than we deserve.  Why not learn to be content in all circumstances as Paul did, (Phil. 4:10-13)?  Don't be a complainer.  Be content and grateful!

There is a great lesson for us to learn from the Bible examples.  How often do you complain about anything?  Do you grumble against God because of your circumstances?  Do you complain because you don't have a job, are not happy in your marriage, your family, your life, you don't have enough money or possessions?  It would be wise to remember what Paul says.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing."  It is a command!  Bear in mind that everything we do must be done heartily as unto the Lord without complaining.  Link this Scripture to the message of Philippians chapter two.  It will sound like this:
"Count others more significant than yourself without grumbling or disputing.  Put the interests of others ahead of yours without grumbling or disputing.  Sacrifice and die to self like Christ did without grumbling or complaining.  Do your work without grumbling or disputing!  Husbands and wives honor one other without grumbling or complaining.” 
It is so easy for us to shake our heads, criticize, and disapprove the conduct of the Israelites who grumbled against God in the wilderness, after all, that He had done to deliver them from Egyptian slavery.  Yet, we often behave just like them when we are not happy with all of God's riches (prosperity, wealth) and blessings toward us. We complain and grumble about every tiny thing that does not suit us or goes our way; even when we know God has prospered us.  Yes, with this kind of selfish behavior we are just behaving like spoiled brats; turning our discontent and anger toward our God.  And why?  Because we do not get everything that our hearts desire.  How awful is that! 

Selfishness is the second cause of complaining.  "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."  (Phil 2:4).  "Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification." (Rom. 15:2).  Selfish people love to complain, whine and grumble!

We often complain about our own plight and exaggerate our woes.  Indeed, life is not perfect and is full of many hardships.  We are tempted to justify our grumbling because we suffer “like Job.” Even so, our complaint is not just or holy.  Usually, we complain over small matters:  the weather, pain, money, cars, houses, clothes and such things.  Let us learn to be content because we have food and clothing, (1 Tim. 6:8).  "5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.”'  (Heb. 13:5).

In I Corinthians 10:10,  we have been admonished not to grumble or complain like the Israelites did in the wilderness.  "Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer."  We must change this grumbling and complaining heart into a heart that is grateful and content.  We must change our negative and ungrateful thoughts into thoughts that are godly and grateful, full of thanksgiving, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8).  So my question is, don't you think it is better to praise God than to grumble or complain?
  • We Grumble When Our Faith is Weak:
When one embraces the Word of God in his heart, trusting in it as Truth, he can quickly develop and strengthen his faith, (Rom. 10:17).  You see, the Israelites had a fickle and feeble faith even though they had every reason to trust in God's Word.  God had made promises to them and had never let them down.  He blessed them over and over with miracles, graciously providing for their needs.  Yet, their faith was fickle and so is ours.  We forget God's blessings toward us, ignoring all the ways in which He has delivered us from our trials.  We just lack faith in Him and neglect to strengthen ourselves through His Word, and as a consequence, we end up grumbling instead of trusting in Him.

When we complain about our trials, we leave room for discontent about everything else.  Our eyes are not fixed on Jesus because as we work, we complain. Grumbling is not Christ-like.  It crushes our spirit and makes it difficult to develop and grow our faith.

Too many Christians grumble all the time.  Who wants to be around such people?!  No one appreciates them!  In the end, it is ugly.  Let us help them to see that their attitudes are wrong, yet with meekness and gentleness of heart.  It is vital that we learn from the Scriptures to be content and grateful.  Only the Word of God can help us exercise our muscle of contentment to avoid sinning against our God.  "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content."  (I Timothy 6:7-8).  "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am" (Philippians 4:11).
  • We Grumble When We Are Lazy:
Those who are lazy complain instead of rolling up their sleeves and going to work, contributing some of their time, effort and sweat so that they may succeed.  Some things in life demand hard work!  We refuse to work hard at our relationships, so we find it easier to complain or argue.  It is more self-flattering to criticize others than it is to work hard.  We don't want to do the Lord's work, so we grumble.  We refuse to be accountable to all authority, so we complain.  We don't want to amend or straighten out our sinful habits, so we whine and pitch a fit.  We want to get our way, so we complain.  Laziness is indeed a common reason for grumbling.
  • We Grumble When Our View of God is Not Enough For Us:
We delude ourselves when we think that we need to convince God to meet our needs; that He is reluctant to bless us.  We seem to ignore that God is all powerful, all knowing and almighty and can help us.  So what do we do instead?  We complain against Him about our circumstances.  He is faithful and takes care of His faithful children, (Matt. 6:33; Heb. 13:5-6).  We must really consider the poison that complaining is.  Let us not accuse God over His provisions to us.  It is an affront to God's goodness!  Let us choose to be happy with our circumstances.  It is our choice. Do you suppose God owes us something in this life?  Does He owe us wealth, a good job, a happy marriage, children, healthy children?  Of course not!  So be careful when you grumble or complain.  Why? Because you are telling God, that He owes you something that He is refusing to provide for you! Grumbling will take away our fellowship with God, (Phil. 2:15).  Take heed!


II.   PROVE YOURSELF TO BE BLAMELESS AND INNOCENT CHILDREN OF GOD:   (Phil. 2:15).

God wants His children to be blameless and innocent without blemish.  He is helping us make these changes in our lives.  When we whine, we are not behaving like children who are blameless and innocent.  It shows that we are not His children.  Indeed, the world of darkness grumbles, complains and accuses God, because they are not sons of God (they are crooked, evil and twisted). We as God's children ought to be different than they.  "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity just and upright is he.  5 They have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children because they are blemished; they are a crooked and twisted generation."  (Deuteronomy 32:5).

Our God is faithful and upright, and the people have dealt corruptly.  Therefore, "they are no longer His children because they are a blemished, crooked and twisted generation."  Apply this to Philippians 2, and it will sound as if Paul were saying:  “We grumble and dispute because we are no longer His children.  We are blemished because we grumble and dispute with God and others.” Let this command sink deeply into your heart!  Grumbling disqualifies one from being a child of God.  Why?  Because we become blemished and are no longer distinct from this crooked and twisted generation.  Israel's biggest failure was that they loved to grumble against their Jehovah God because they did not trust in Him to take care of them.  Grumbling means we don't trust in God to provide for us.

Our world is crooked and twisted because they are not in line with God's Law.  They are twisted because they distort that which is true and good.  In Acts 2:40 Peter told the people, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”  This world is not the Light. It is moral darkness because of their unbelief, and because they have chosen to exclude God from leading their ways.  It does not provide that which is upright in life because they distort the Truth.  This is exactly what Isaiah prophesied, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!"  (Isaiah 5:20-21).

God wants us to shine as lights in this world of darkness rather than looking like the world.  We shine our light when we point this world of darkness to the true Light, Jesus.  We are lights that shine in this world of darkness when we choose not to complain, grumble, dispute or argue. You see, complaining and arguing destroys the Light that we are supposed to shine.  Since the world is not the Light, we are to be the Light that shines on them.  Remember that Israel failed to be the Light and be a blessing to the nations (the end of the earth) when they rejected being the Light. Those who belong to Jesus now are a Light to the nations and a blessing to the ends of the earth, (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; Daniel 12:3).


III.    HOLDING FAST TO THE WORD OF LIFE:  (Philippians 2:16).

It is crucial that we Christians hold fast to the Word of Life that we may point others to Christ.  It is impossible to be lights in this world of darkness when we surrender to the ways of this world (sinful habits and worldly practices).  We cannot be lights that shine brightly in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation if we reject the riches of God's Truth and instead choose to follow the truth of this world.  We must hold tightly to the Word of God, because this world we live in, can offer us only physical life.  The Word of God is life to us.  "2 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  (Hebrews 4:12).  On the other hand, the world does not offer us life but death.  It is imperative for us Christians to love and hold fast or cling, to the Word of God because it is life to our dying souls.  It is your life that you must save from death and bring back to life.  We must choose to love the Word of God, the Word of life, holding fast to it with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  It is only then that we will be found acceptable and without blemish before our God in the day of Christ.

It will be wise to remember what the apostle Paul says regarding the grumbling of the Israelites against God after He had delivered them from Egyptian slavery.  Remember, that those things were recorded for us as well.  Read and examine carefully what Paul said to the Corinthians concerning the grave sins of the Israelites as an exhortation to the Corinthians and to us as well.
"6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.' 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.'"  (1 Cor. 10:6-12).
Notice that God brought judgment on them for the grave sins of idolatry and fornication.  He was equally incensed by their grumbling in the aftermath.  In verse 7 we find idolatry, then in verse 8 they indulged in sexual immorality, so God killed them. In verse 9 they put Christ to the test and were destroyed by serpents. In verse 10, they grumbled and were destroyed by the Judge and Destroyer of all.  And though idolatry and sexual immorality are grave sins worthy of God's judgment, putting the Lord to the test and grumbling is as serious as idolatry and sexual immorality. All of those sins were worthy of the same level of judgment.  Brothers and sisters, these things were written down for us, that we might not grumble like they did and find ourselves judged by the Great Judge.  Let us be very careful and heed these words of life:  "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall."  (1 Cor. 10:12).


IV.    THE REMEDY TO GRUMBLING AND COMPLAINING:

The Word of God is very specific about whiners and complainers, (Phil. 2:14).  Let us consider some practical solutions to this grave sin.
  • Overcome Grumbling By Being Realistic:
Isn't it something that as soon as the Israelites began facing difficulties, they started to idealize their past?  That was their number one biggest mistake.  Their cycle was like this:
  1. First, comes abundance (they had what they needed and were content and thankful).  
  2. Second, comes expectation (they enjoyed abundance, expecting that it would continue).  
  3. Third, is disappointment (the abundance they expected was not longer available, so they were disappointed).  
  4. Fourth, is complaint (disappointment led them to grumble and complaining).  
  5. The final part is provision (God in His mercy and grace provided what was needed; many times after discipline).  Doesn't this cycle sound familiar in our lives as well?
The Israelites failed to be realistic because they kept looking on the past as if it were the "glory days" of Israel.  The truth is, things were not as good as they thought they were.  They were slaves and oppressed by the Egyptians!!  They were not realistic.  They complained about being hungry. Now, there's a big difference between being hungry and starving.  Don't you agree?  Their biggest problem was their exaggeration of their "good old days."  Aren't we all guilty of exaggerating our "good old days" at times?  Don't we have the tendency to do the same?  When things aren't going well, the way we want them to, we find it easier to look back and exaggerate how good we had it in the past, or how it used to be.  The chances are that the same things we are grumbling about now, in the present, we will likely look back, two years from now, and call them the "good old days."  Do you suppose the Israelites' "good old days" as slaves in Egypt were that good?  Right!  Though they were experts at grumbling, God graciously and miraculously provided for their needs for forty years (feeding them by providing manna in the morning and meat at night, (Exo.16:4, 8, 34-35 ).  Our complaints land at His feet and ultimately are an upfront to God.  Therefore, let us learn to do our best to have a proper perspective and be more realistic, no matter our circumstances.  Remember that God is in control, death is unavoidable and that there will be a final Day of Judgment.  Therefore, let us fear God and keep all of His commandments that we may live, (Eccl. 12, 13, 14).
  • Overcome Grumbling By Recognizing That All Complaining is Ultimately Against God:
When we complain, we are arguing with the living God. When we hate our neighbor, we are likewise hating God, (1 John 4:20).  So if we have they tendency to grumble against our neighbor, we are without a doubt grumbling against our Creator.  And though few directly complain to God Almighty, they still complain indirectly, which is also wrong.  We complain because we are not happy about our circumstances, so we expect God to treat us better. We are unhappy financially, so we believe that God is not providing enough for us, (cf. Phil. 4:10-13).  We are unhappy with certain people around us and think that God should have made them differently.  When we grumble about trivial matters such as these, we are indirectly complaining against God Almighty.  How dare we complain against our God Almighty, the One who gave us life and gives life!!  It is a clear sign of ingratitude and selfishness. Why?  Because of our grumbling against the One who saved us by His grace.  So rather than grumbling during our times of hardship, why not turn to our gracious Lord for the strength to face whatever He sees fit to allow in our life?  We don't deny that hard times exist!  It is just that we must humbly learn from our Teacher that we might serve better in His kingdom of righteousness.
  • Overcome Grumbling By Being Careful With Our Words:
Don't we all need to slow down and truly think before we utter words?  I do!! Why not think before you say those words:  Are they true?  Are they helpful?  Are they edifying?  Are they godly?  Are they necessary?
“The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”  (Prov. 13:3)
“Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.”  (Proverbs 13:3)
It is easy to be a grumbler without even realizing it.  So often we get caught up walking the path of negative thinking and complaining, ignoring the obvious, especially when we're surrounded by negative people and evil influences.  Remember, that for us as Christians, our speech must be characterized by gratitude, faith, and joy instead of complaints, doubts, and bitterness.  It would be wise to remember that we are not to "be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few."  (Eccl. 5:2).  Let us speak less and be better listeners!
  • Overcome Grumbling By Setting Our Minds On Things That Are Good And Positive:  (Col. 3:2)
How do we accomplish this?  Merely by investing the best of our time in daily Bible reading, prayer, and worship.  Indeed, it is a pleasant and positive start!  It demands that you and I fill our minds with that which is pure, good, godly and holy, (Phil. 4:8) rather than dwelling on the negative and unprofitable (how difficult life is and how heavy are my burdens).  The way we feed our mind will depend upon our attitude of heart.  We can choose to dwell on the bad and ugly or look for the good in everything and everyone!  There is always so much good to look for and be thankful for.  Think about it!
  • Overcome Grumbling By Surrounding Ourselves With Positive  And Faithful Companions:
This is similar to my prior suggestion.  We know that uplifting, encouraging and positive people (brethren especially) are a great blessing.  They make us smile. They see the positive side of everything. They make our burdens easier to carry. They make our days seem better, and they can turn a bad and ugly day into a good and positive one.  Oh how much I want to be around these precious souls all the days of my life and never let go of them!!  What a blessing that is!  Why not then go and find these precious souls, learn from them and try to be one of them?!  Why not pray to God Almighty to find these precious souls?!
  • Overcome Grumbling By Keeping In Mind That Our  Righteous Influence  Can Encourage And Edify:
As I look around, I see people who are discouraged and beaten down or broken by life.  It is disturbing!  Not only are they broken people but sadly are surrounded by plenty of negative people all the time.  These broken people need to be surrounded by righteous, holy and positive ones.  Who likes to be around someone who is always complaining and disputing?  I don't!!  Do you?  There is no way to impact this world of darkness for Christ if we repel people because of our ungodly and unholy behavior!!

It is a sad reality that we live in a world of hurting people, who are barely making it from day to day. They're morally broken and have little purpose in life.  Their goal is to get as much as they can out of life before they reach their final destination (death and judgment).  These people don't need us to feed their despair and turn away from them because of their brokenness.  They need us to speak gently and kindly to them.  They need us to live the "good news" of Jesus Christ before them!  They need Christ's servants to live with joy and gratitude instead of just talking.  They need Christians who will point them to Christ and His glorious gospel of salvation.  They need Christians who make their struggles less burdensome, (Rom. 8:18).  Our brethren who are weak and feeble or discouraged, also need us to help them lift their burdens in love and longsuffering.  Complainers and grumblers are not able to accomplish this.  It is sad!!


CONCLUSION:

There are so many lessons that we can learn from the Israelites in the wilderness.  It takes a humble heart to grow through life's tests.  When we think that we are entitled to better treatment, pride rules and blinds us.  The truth is that we are undeserving of God's grace.  The prideful heart says, why me The humble heart says, why not me?  The humble is able to say, “God will help me to endure whatever trials come my way or whatever is that I am facing at the moment.”  Humility is the key to a grateful heart.  Humility learns to accept and to learn from whatever tests and trials come our way without complaining and grumbling.  This godly approach is very pleasing to our God.  It takes an open and humble heart to grow through life's brokenness and tests.

Every time I read about the way the Israelites chose to react every time they encountered new trials, I am astounded at how blinded they were and how short was their memory.  It is then that I have to stop and examine myself carefully and realize that too often I am just like them and that I don't deserve God's lovingkindness toward me and all men!!  It is at that moment that I cannot fathom how ungrateful and selfish the Israelites were toward their Jehovah God.  A God who brought them out of Egyptian slavery and through the Red Sea and yet they grumbled and complained against our God when they experienced the first trial.  They were thrown into waters of doubt and despair.  How quickly do we forget all of God's provisions during our trials!  How easy it is for us to forget how our God brought us unto a place of abundance when we went through fire and water! Such ungrateful and selfish people we are!!

We have so much to be thankful for, that should keep us from becoming complainers and grumblers. Our Lord has blessed us so richly, that our lives should be full of joy and not complaint.  Sadly, many choose to focus on the negative, pointing out the worst in everything.  God is provoked to anger by such people, and they will not see the Promised Land, heaven, because of their negative heart.  Selfishness is the root of this big sin (grumbling, complaining).  Those who love to complain or grumble have not died to themselves yet!  They have a long road ahead of them.  After all, those who are dead don't complain, do they?  Does God not require His children to die to self and live for Christ?!  Absolutely!! (cf. Matt. 16:24, Gal. 2:20).  So if you are a complainer or grumbler, it is time to repent and be transformed.  Not only are you disobeying our Lord and displeasing Him, but you're also showing how immature you are. You are showing your lack of total commitment to His cause. On the other hand, if you are living for Christ and dying to self, why do you complain when you are mistreated or think you're not worthy of it?  Why do you complain about your rights being violated?  Life's challenges have a purpose.  So resist the temptation to grumble or complain!

Grumbling is all too common among our brethren.  They may be examples of morals and doctrine, but when it comes to this giant sin, they fail.  We negate all the good that we might do with this kind of whining behavior.  If we don't repent of our grumbling, we will need to receive some discipline to save our souls.  Otherwise, condemnation is coming upon those who grumble, complain and dispute. Please, be aware that our grumbling can divide us.  We become antagonistic toward each other's points of view and begin to falter.  Lest we forget, God hates one who sows discord among brethren, (Proverbs 6:19).  We must exhort with the WORD of God, (Gal 6:1-11).  We must pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding to guide us according to His will.  God's discipline is to bless us and not harm us.  Let us learn from the Israelites' example who were denied entrance into the Promised Land because of their grumbling and complaining.  For Christians today our Promised Land is heaven and eternal life with Him.  "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."  (Eph. 4:31-32).  Let us take this to heart!

Grumbling is the poison in our lives that kills us little by little leaving us little hope of escape. Therefore, reject all grumbling, complaining and disputing.  Remember that this is a spot and we must be presented to God without blemish. God will judge us.  When we grumble, we are not capable of offering thanksgiving to our God.  Moreover, we fail to be lights in the midst of a dark world of sin.  So let’s overcome our grumbling and complaining by holding fast to the Word of Life.  Let God's lovingkindness and steadfast love penetrate the thoughts and intentions of your heart and mind. Learn to be content and grateful and realize all that God has done for you.  Remember that God owes us nothing and yet has richly blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  (Eph. 1:3).

I would like to conclude with Paul's words of exhortation and a poem.
"8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  (Phil. 4:8-13).

ODE TO THE HABITUAL GRUMBLER!
By Luci Y. Partain

Some people can be found all 'round,
Who grumble night and day,
                 Oh they grumble without ceasing,                  
For they are ceaseless grumblers,  
                    And nothing gives them joy!                    

They grumble in the city,  
They grumble on the farm,
                      They grumble at their neighbors,                         
They grumble at their husbands,            
They grumble at their wives,
They grumble at their children,               
They grumble in their deluded hearts,
For they think it not ill,
And the grumbler can ne'er do well.

They grumble when it's raining,              
They grumble when it's dry,
They grumble when is hot and cold,
They grumble when they're hungry,
They grumble all the way
And they get so angry when they're hungry!

They grumble at their reapings,
They grumble at their failings,        
They grumble, and they sigh,  
They grumble when they're high,   
And they'll grumble till they die!

They grumble at the preacher,              
They grumble at his preaching,  
They grumble at the teacher,
They grumble when he's teaching,
They grumble at God's people,
They grumble at their songs
And they grumble even at their prayers,

They grumble if to them we speak,
They grumble if on them we call,
They grumble if we don't,
They grumble, and they stumble,
The stumble and they fall,
They grumble everywhere,
And make others stumble.

Stop it, won't you please!
Why not praise the Lord!
There's no joy in grumbling, Oh grumbler,
Repent Oh wayward brother, 
And die to your selfish habit,

Let Jesus be your Light,
And He will guide your path,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,
For Jesus, a crown of life will give you,
And a wide door He'll open,
To enter the heav’nly home,
To dwell forevermore.
                                                               

May our Lord help us never to be selfish grumblers, but rather to regard others as better than ourselves. May we always look out for the welfare of others.  May our hearts be enlarged pursuing those things which make for peace and the edification of one another.  May we not fall into the temptation of grumbling and complaining but rather be content while we walk this path of life.  May we always have grateful hearts full of joy.

Luci