Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, 'Oh, that we had died by the Hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'
Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused.
Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.
To complain against our circumstances is to complain against God. Because the circumstances we find intolerable are the same ones He allows--to teach us. I confess my status as a recovering complainer. I rank my former self in the semi-professional league. (Professionals file lawsuits.)
When I committed to Christ, an uncomfortable discovery began to hit me in the face: a jab from the Right Hand of God. In His Word, I find no justification for public complaint: zero. It's simply not on His list of acceptable behaviors.
But many of us forget His behavior code. Instead of working to pass our tests, we complain about them. We may even win a short victory, because sometimes, the world rewards complainers. But God does not--and success by His Hand will be delayed for days, months, years or even eternity.
In our Teacher's mercy, He allows us to repeat His tests until we pass--or die.
Consider common complaints: long waits, high taxes, low wages, poor service, cold food or anything we deem unfair. Bad weather, flight delays, traffic jams, gas prices or inflation. Politicians, co-workers, ex-husbands or former friends. Body aches, body shapes--or life in general.
After their miraculous escape from Egypt, the children of Israel complained continually--until all the complainers died and a new generation was raised on the way.*
Actors, models and talent for Christ: don't complain! Don't complain about the size of your stage, the length of your journey or the sacrifices you make. Don't complain about your agents, pictures, coaches, jobs, finances--or the lack of them. Because God will not promote complainers.
The enemy might promote them: to confuse the confusable--that others might copy them. But not God.
'Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world' (Philippians 2:14-15).
But 'In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you' (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
To Be Continued...
* Because of their complaining, all adult men aged 20 and over who left Egypt to follow Moses toward the Promised Land would die in the wilderness (except Joshua and Caleb): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2014:29-34&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Field of Dreams series.