Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Walk of Repentance: Complaining

I'm going to be doing a series of Bible studies on specific sin or issues and focusing on turning away from those things as the Lord and the Scripture commands. These posts will mostly be short, simple, and full of Scripture. The idea is to meditate on the verses and apply them through turning from Sin and turning to God.

Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.
Numbers 11:1

In the Old Testament complaining brought anger and judgment from the Lord. This judgment was severe, resulting in death. In context, the Israelites were indeed going through challenges that were much harder than most of our lives. They struggled to believe God for protection and provision: things we often take for granted. In the end, their circumstances did not harm their lives; their complaining destroyed their lives.

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
Numbers 14:1-4

There is much more to this story, which continues in the passage below. The Israelites refuse to enter the promised land. Complaining spreads through the whole community with fear and protest against their leaders. Complaining is linked to both unbelief, fear, and ungratefulness. It results in rebellion.

Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
Numbers 14:28-30

Again, complaining results in God's judgment. An entire generation refuses God's blessing, and is barred from entering the promised land because of their unbelief and complaining.

13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Philippians 2:13-15

In the New Testament we are commanded to do everything without complaining or arguing. Clearly we will have to do things that we don't want to do. We are to do them without complaining or arguing. Then we will not be able to be criticized or blamed.

15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted.
Jude 15-17

Jude brings a scathing rebuke and description of false teachers and false brothers. He says they are characterized by grumbling and complaining. They want to do what they want to do. They want to have their way. They want to satisfy themselves. Jude goes on to warn us of the last days and the final judgment.

The people refused to enter the pleasant land,
    for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
25 Instead, they grumbled in their tents
    and refused to obey the Lord.
26 Therefore, he solemnly swore
    that he would kill them in the wilderness,
Psalm 106:24-26

The generation who died in the wilderness stands as a testimony and warning of judgment for thousands of years. We are to look at their lives and deaths and determine in our hearts not to be unbelieving or ungrateful.

9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
1 Corinthians 10:9-11

These judements were written down to warn us. We are warned by the deaths of others, not to complain or grumble. That is a serious warning.

8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
James 5:8-10

James again warns us against grumbling against each other. Complaining not only about circumstances, but about people. This brings judgment on our lives. James's words are meant to bring the fear of the Lord. If we do not repent of complaining and grumbling about others, we will be judged. We must be patient with one another.

Father, your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. You warn me against complaining and grumbling. These things do not please you. You provide for me and protect me in every circumstance. You are trustworthy and faithful. To complain is to claim that you are not. I repent of complaining, Lord. I turn away from this sin. I confess that I have complained about my circumstances in the past. I want to be cleansed from this sin. I don't want it to persist in my life. I confess that I have complained and grumbled about others. Master, I do not want to do that any more. I know that these things must be corrected in my life. Help me, Jesus. I repent of them today. Lord, I believe you, and I do not doubt your love and care for me. I want to please you. I thank you that You love me so much You sent Jesus to die on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins and so that I would be redeemed and rescued from every sin. I thank you for freedom and new birth in Christ, and that now I live accepted in Him. I turn from complaining and grumbling to You Lord. I am grateful and thankful to You. I love you. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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