Humility Curbs Complaining.
Ever complained about anything? I get it—life is hard. But the root behind our complaining is where the sin lies. And pouring out our complaints to God is different than complaining about God. God’s people rejected God and His provision in the desert—the God who was with them! But the truly humble understand that we truly deserve nothing. Humility curbs complaining.
Bible Reading of the Day: Numbers 9-12
God commanded the Israelites to celebrate the second Passover at the beginning of chapter nine.
Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is a Jewish festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites’ freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. The Feast of Passover, along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was the first of the festivals to be commanded by God for Israel to observe (see Exodus 12). Commemorations today involve a special meal called the Seder, featuring unleavened bread and other food items symbolic of various aspects of the exodus.
The night of the first Passover was the night of the tenth plague. On that fateful night, God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts and lintels with its blood (Exodus 12:21–22). Then, when the Lord passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood (verse 23). In a very real way, the blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from death, as it kept the destroyer from entering their homes. The Israelites were saved from the plague, and their firstborn children stayed alive. From then on, every firstborn son of the Israelites belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice (Exodus 13:1–2, 12; cf. Luke 2:22–24). (Easy English Bible Commentary)
What is interesting to me is that this observance was at God’s command. It was not just a holiday, but a moment of reflection on what God did for them.
Humility curbs complaining—Remembering God’s Goodness Helps us to be Humble
God wanted His people to remember His rescue. We tend to be a forgetful people.
Remembering God’s rescue would help them to remember their purpose so they would not just live for this world.
How do we remember?
In chapter ten the LORD spoke to Moses about the role of the trumpets in moving the camp forward as they began their journey to the promised land. God journeyed with them. God went with His people. He covered them with clouds.
In Chapter 11, God’s people complained and incurred judgment on themselves.
- They complained about hardship
- They complained about God’s provision
11 Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, his anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.
Humility Curbs Complaining—Remembering that All We Have is From God Produces Humility
4 The riffraff among them had a strong craving for other food. The Israelites wept again and said, “Who will feed us meat? 5 We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. 6 But now our appetite is gone; there’s nothing to look at but this manna!”
All the parents listening right now know about complaining, don’t we? Children don’t get what they feel they deserve. Or perhaps things are hard and again complaints abound. But the root behind our complaining is where the sin lies. God’s people were rejecting God—who was with them! And pouring out our complaints to God is different than complaining about God.
I remember when my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 7. And shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases. I cried out to God and asked if things would ever be easier again. “No, but my grace is sufficient for you”. That was not the answer I wanted, but it was the answer I needed. We live in a fallen world where there will be suffering. We just didn’t expect that and can become disillusioned. And God wants to be our comfort. He is with us.
The enemy of our souls wants to get us to doubt God and His goodness. He wants to get into our belief system and get us to complain and have no hope.
Humility Curbs Complaining—Remembering What We Deserve Produces Humility
Numbers 11:18-20 shows the cause of their discipline
18 “Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in readiness for tomorrow, and you will eat meat because you wept in the Lord’s hearing, ‘Who will feed us meat? We were better off in Egypt.’ The Lord will give you meat and you will eat. 19 You will eat, not for one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes nauseating to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and wept before him, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’”
Humility Curbs Complaining—Holding Firmly to God’s Word Brings Humility
“14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.”
What the world needs to see is authentic believers who are real about their pain, but bear it all for the glory of God. When we walk through life’s troubles with joy and live the abundant life in the sun and the rain, the world can see that our faith is real and so is our God.
Humility Curbs Complaining—Crying Out To God Changes Our Perspective
“1 I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. 2 I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. 3 When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. 4 I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. 5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. 6 Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. 7 Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”
Is God what we want, or is it our way that we want? Is God what we want or is it just deliverance that we want?
In the hardest places of my life, God turned my crying out into a desire for His glory more than for my deliverance. What a miracle! God changes our perspective when we surrender to Him.
Are we like the Israelites? Complaining when God’s provision or life’s hard places look different than we thought it should look? Are we like toddlers who kick and scream when life hurts? Or are we grateful for the grace and strength that God provides in those places?
Scripture of the day: Numbers 11:29
29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!”
After the episode with manna, Joshua noticed other prophesying and told Moses about it. Putting the Scripture of the day in a little more context,
“24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought seventy men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the Spirit who was on Moses and placed the Spirit on the seventy elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they never did it again. 26 Two men had remained in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad; the Spirit rested on them—they were among those listed, but had not gone out to the tent—and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28 Joshua son of Nun, assistant to Moses since his youth,[j] responded, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses asked him, “Are you jealous on my account? If only all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would place his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.”
Friends, we are not to be in competition with one another. Let’s spur one another on with a Kingdom mentality.
Friends, Moses had a secret: humility. Numbers 12:3 says, “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth.” Moses would pour out his cares before God when he was surrounded by a throng of whiners, but Moses’ heart did not doubt God. He just knew where to go when life was hard. And He was truly humble. We fight a complaining spirit within our own heart with humility.
When we check ourselves before we wreck ourselves and turn complaints into praise, our perspective changes. God will indeed use our mess to bless and all for His glory and our good.
Listen in to this fun song by Keith Green: “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt”:
- The root behind our complaining is where the sin lies.
- Pouring out our complaints to God is different than complaining about God.
- God’s people were rejecting God—who was with them!
- The truly humble understand that we truly deserve nothing.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #225: Numbers 9-12
Scripture of the Day: Numbers 11:29
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