christianity, complaints are contagious, dealing with doubts, don't pray your problems pray your solutions, fatalistic conclusions, get a word, Holtz quote, lack of faith, lust, moan, Moses, mutter, Numbers 11:14-23, Numbers 11:4-13. mix multitude, only see the problems, real faith
Yesterday, I began blogging about the high cost of complaining and how vocally venting our displeasure with God reveals our ingratitude. Today, I continue by noting how complaining just doesn’t go into the air and quietly dissipate. When we choose to complain…it usually becomes contagious. It goes viral like a bad internet video. Listen as the story continues in Numbers 11.
A Mixed Multitude Began To Mutter.
And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting… Numbers 11:4a
This “mixed multitude” consisted of Jews along with some of the Egyptians that had followed the Israelites out of Egypt. Egyptians came along for the ride for various reasons. But it was this group which first began to “lust” or long for the way things used to be. It was one thing to possess internal desires for something. It was another to vocalize those desires and encourage others to voice their displeasure.
The Children Of Israel Began To Mourn As Well
…and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat?’ Numbers 11:4b
I talked about this a little yesterday. But note, this is the first link in the awful chain of complaining. Let one person or small group of people start complaining to others about what’s wrong with the church, an organization, or leader and soon thereafter others will link up with the complainers. Muttering complaints is easy. Fixing issues is hard. This is why so many choose to complain… it is the easy road and requires no effort. The problem is that complaining is contagious. Mark Twain once said, “Don’t complain and talk about all your problems. Eighty percent of people don’t care; the other twenty percent will think you deserve them.”
Even Moses Began To Groan and Moan
Under the weight of these complaints, God’s man Moses began to crumble. With nowhere else to turn, he voices his complaints to the Lord.
11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? 12 Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ Numbers 11:11-13
This would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Moses feels afflicted. Like a mother who is up all night with a crying baby, Moses is tired, beat-up, and apparently not taking care of his own personal needs. He isn’t caring for one child…but a multitude of immature infants. He knows he doesn’t have the resources to meet all the demands of the people. Remember the people are not starving or dying. They are simply complaining because they want more. As a result of all this negativity, Moses draws some rather fatalistic conclusions.
14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.” Numbers 11:14-15
When death becomes a suitable alternative for you, your situation has deteriorated and you’re losing control. Moses appears to have forgotten he was still conversing with the same God which delivered Israel from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea. The pillar of clouds and the fire by night were still in operation above his head. Miracles were still flowing from God’s hand.
God never intended for Moses to bear the full load of this people. Though Moses complained to God, we never read that he ever complained before the people or spread his malcontent. This is the difference between the godly and the ungodly. There will be times when we need to unload our concerns. If we must…it is ok to tell the Lord about what is going on in our life. But, when we complain to others first, before talking to God…it reveals our lack of faith. It reveals we don’t really want solutions, we simply desire to complain about how bad things are for us.
Unfortunately, Moses arrived to the point where he even doubted God could handle these circumstances.
21 And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. 22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them? 23 And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” Numbers 11:21-23
Moses is like so many people…he only sees the problems. He can only comprehend God answering via his own personal resources. Listen, we are not really praying when we are believing in our own resources. Moses wasn’t praying for God’s solutions. He was praying about His problems. When you pray… don’t pray your problems, instead pray for God’s solutions. God knows about your problems. You know about your problems. It doesn’t take any faith to believe you have problems. Real faith reaches into God’s pockets and believes He will bless you with heavenly resources. Moses needed to pray His word. (Food for a month.) Instead, he continued to blather to God about His problems.
There is a fork in the road today for all of us. We can choose the path of continued complaining. This is the easy road. Here we can join the multitudes which choose to complain and gripe about all those things God doesn’t do for us. God will never move for this group because no one on this road expresses faith. Praise the Lord there is another road for God’s people. On this path people choose not to complain but believe in what God has revealed. These folks look to the Lord because He has spoken. Prayer is a joy for these folks because they pray God’s solutions not their problems.