“The whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (1) The Israelites were angry that things were difficult for them as they began their journey to the Promised Land. But hey! 🤨 They were worried about their future—where they would find food and water, how they would provide for their families on the trip. These were real problems. They were simply reporting to Moses and Aaron their concerns. They were making sure their leaders understood the gravity of the situation. They were addressing issues that needed addressing. So, was their grumbling justified?
Hmm. 🤔 Let’s think about this one. It is easy for us to judge these Israelites quickly and harshly. But what about us? Do we grumble? Do we have good reasons for our complaints? Do we report problems to our leaders and say we are being proactive? We call it troubleshooting, right? Or are we really just grumbling?
How are we to handle the problems that we face? Here’s what Paul has to say: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” (2). That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? 🙄 So, does that mean we are to ignore our problems? Well, maybe. Some problems are not problems at all. With a little patience, many things just seem to work themselves out. So, I think our first response to a problem is to wait. Why? Because the “crooked and twisted generation,” (the world around us) will not. And we need to “shine as lights in the world” for these folks, “holding fast to the word of life.” (3) We are called to respond differently!
However, given the opportunity, most of us love to complain about . . . whatever! But here’s what we are supposed to be doing with . . . whatever: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (4) Instead of focusing on the bad things so often, Paul reminds us to “think about these things.” It’s called being grateful.
Here’s another thought. What was the response of Moses and Aaron when the “whole congregation” complained? They told them, “What are we, that you grumble against us?” (5) Hmm. 🧐 You see, Moses and Aaron were doing the best they could. They were following God’s orders, acting on faith that God would provide and lead and protect and fulfill his promises. Here’s what Paul says about how to treat our leaders. “We ask you brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” (6) It’s a tough job, leading. Those who are over us need our love and respect—not our opinions on everything.
But here’s the most amazing thing about our grumbling. Moses told the Israelites: “Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.” (7) God consoled his people, took care of their problems, and then reminded that they could always trust this fact: “You shall know that I am the Lord your God.” (8)
God is gracious to us. And takes care of us! How kind. How merciful. How loving. He repeats over and over to us: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (9) Here is the final thought on the matter: God hears our grumbling. Hmm. 😟
1) Exodus 16:2 2) Philippians 2:14 3) Philippians 2:15-16 4) Philippians 4:8 5) Exodus 16:7 6) 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 7) Exodus 16:9 8) Exodus 16:12 (9) Joshua 1:9
Debbie, I loved this. I try to be faithful but sometimes it just does not seem possible to not grumble or have negative thoughts.
I definitely need GODS guidance and help.
Again thank you.