Filing a Complaint
Reading through the book of Numbers, I am reminded of the constant complaint of the people of Israel while making their way through the wilderness. For example, in Numbers 20 we find Israel at a place called Meribah. They arrived at this place, looked around, and they quickly discovered that there was no water. So what did they do? They “filed a complaint!” They complained to Moses, “Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness that we should die here?”
Now before you are quick to condemn this “complaining people” – don’t forget how we live in a land of “running water” that conveniently flows into your house and is accessible any time we want it. Imagine the complaint that would come from your house if the water main was shut off and the water company took a few days to get to it! Even with that inconvenience, you could go to the local “convenience store” and buy an ample supply of water to sustain you. At Meribah, there was no water to satisfy the thirst of 1 to 2 million people. How would you respond?
Every time they came to “a trial” like this, complaining was their natural response, even though time and time again, God provided for them. It is interesting to me how this complaining is characterized in Numbers 20:12. It is equated to a lack of “belief” and a lack of “faith” in God. That is the same thing you see in Hebrews 3:7-12. This passage is quoted from Psalm 95 and it recalls the events that took place at Meribah. Here we read that Israel’s heart was characterized as being “hardened” and that through their complaining they were putting God to the test. In fact in Hebrews 3:12, their hearts were characterized as “unbelieving” because of their constant complaining.
There is a better way, as we walk through the trials that God uses to strengthen our faith. The better way is a quiet trust in God during the trials of life. Consider these words by Spurgeon.
“God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty of trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring – that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble as long as He is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace…He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it – hate the thought. The God who has been manifest until now, should be trusted to the end.”
Are you at Meribah? Turn away from complaint and despair and turn with faith to the God who is sufficient to meet your need.
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