Complaining achieves nothing – Numbers 11:19-20

You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days,

but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ ”  (Numbers 11:19-20).

Be careful what you ask for. It’s an old phrase, yet it still stands with a surreal truth about it. God alone knows what is good for us. James highlights this stating “when you ask you don’t receive”, why? because your motives are selfish rather than selfless. You are asking in your own will rather than through God’s.

Jesus Christ was far from materialistic. His life on earth displayed a content man needing little. Christ was nothing like Solomon or King David. His fulfillment was not in something, rather, it was in someone – namely God. Going forty days without food highlighted this. His hunger was always for God; thus he denied himself the pleasures and temptations of this life. He knew in the end – it was all meaningless (Ecc 2:1).

Christ’s contentment additionally freed him from the need to complain. Contentment is never achieved by receiving what we want. If such was the case then the stars of Hollywood should rate as the world’s most contented human beings. Their suicide statistics, divorce rates, custody battles and drug abuse reveals this isn’t the case.

In this verse from the book of Numbers the Israelites bemoaned that all they had to eat was manna. Imagine eating only one food for months if not years? Few of us have ever done this. Yet in these circumstances God still expected a sense of humility and an attitude of thankfulness towards His provision and salvation. Instead, He received moaning. In the case of the Israelites they moaned that whilst under slavery, at least we had meat and cucumbers!

Careful what you ask for

God’s response was understandable – “I’ll give you meat alright, I’ll give you it till it comes out your nose!” The Almighty Creator, who answers to no one, provides them with an abundance of quail. Diseased Quail. Subsequently thousands of Israelites are removed from the face of the earth. A hard lesson was learnt.

God knows what we need and gives us just that. When we complain for what we want rather than humbly accepting what we need; we get caught in all manner of vices, sins and greeds. We then bear the consequences of such.

An insatiable western appetite has all but destroyed the blue planet. Sadly that mentality has also infiltrated the church. An attitude of God’s material blessing signifying God’s presence. This does not correspond with Jesus’ existence however. His life of poverty, minimalism and suffering conveys a stark contrast to the health and wealth gospel. One which is no gospel at all.

Houses built on sand fall when the storms of real life arrive; the misinformed often fall away unfruitful and bitter.Their complaints are not met by a sympathetic ear.

The apostle Paul writes if we have food and clothing we should be content with that. That we should give thanks in all circumstances and that we should never complain.

Complaining achieves nothing. Be content with what you have, chasing what you have not will ultimately give you a life of complaint. God is Spirit. Matter matters to Him. It is not, however, to be sought above Him.