"If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt," they moaned. "There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death." Exodus 16:3
My kids are really good at complaining. They grumble over not getting a turn on the Xbox, having to do chores, or even if the sun is in their eyes when we are driving in our minivan. Complaining always came very naturally for my children. I never had to sit them down with clear instruction on the art of griping over their circumstances or effective ways to whine; from birth, they worked this out on their own. It is not just my kids that are good at complaining; all of us struggle with commiserating about our surroundings. You will hear complaining in almost every area that you live and work in.
The Israelites were also familiar with complaining. Their road trip through the desert was filled with twist and turns, along with great difficulty. There were times where they had reasons to be upset, tired, and worn out. Their initial complaints and processing of their situation in and of itself weren't all that bad; it was the extent to which they let their disappointment fester. They get to the place along their journey through the desert where they wish they were dead or even back in Egypt. They had been in this downward spiral for so long that they wished to be slaves again rather than free.
At times we act the same way and let our complaints spiral out of control. It could be a bad haircut that we get from our stylist that we gripe about at first, but on the inside, we start to doubt our own self-worth. It could be a hard conversation at work that we don't deal with, and our complaining turns into subversive behavior jeopardizing our job and livelihood. It could be a school that our whining becomes so habitual that no one wants to be in relationship with us, leading to isolation. A life that is filled with complaining and negativity pushes us away from God and other people.
How do you have victory over complaining? The easiest way to overcome a spirit that is filled with complaints is to embrace a heart of gratitude. When you are grateful for all that God has given you, it changes your perspective. Instead of focusing on all the things that are wrong, thank God for what He has given you. Gratitude unwinds the path of destruction that complaining can leads us into. Choose today to be thankful for all that God has given you!
As you change your focus off of what is wrong to what is actually right, you break the spiral of isolation that Satan locks us up in. If you want to move toward action today, make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for in life. When you write out your list, we want to challenge you to stretch a little. On that list take one area that is currently at the top of your complaints and try to find a way to be grateful in the midst of your circumstance.
Read Exodus 16:1-15 (NLT)
Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.
“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.
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