Reading for February 20th: Numbers 21-22
And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."
What was the number one sin of Israel in the wilderness?
The people complained as soon as they crossed the Red Sea all the way till this story which is near the end of their pilgrimage. There are at least ten unique stories during Israel's wilderness days where we find the people complaining against God and/or Moses (Ex 16:2; 17:2; 32:1; Num 11:1; 14:2; 16:3 17:6, 28; 20:2; 21:5).
Grumbling is a problem. None of us is above the temptation to murmur or complain. We need to learn from the book of Numbers that this is a serious issue with God. He never took grumbling lightly. He sent fire to consume some, swallowed up others with the earth, and sent fiery serpents among the people, all because of complaining!
What lies at the heart of a complaining spirit?
1. A lack of faith. Israel usually complained because they failed to see God's ability to provide for them.
2. A selfish heart. This is seen in the rebellion of Korah. He and his family were jealous of the position God had given Moses.
How do you remedy a complaining spirit?
1. Remind yourself that God is in control. Your life may look like a wilderness with no food or water in sight, but God has not abandoned you. He will guide you home.
2. Give thanks. Instead of grumbling about what you don't have, turn your attention to what God has given you.
Father, forgive us of our ingratitude and lack of faith. Cultivate in us a heart of thankfulness and trust in your ability to provide.