Brian Cole: 'Grumbling'
In Exodus 16:2-10 the Israelites had only been gone from Egypt for one month! They had personally witnessed the provision of water and yet they were still grumbling. Only a person with a hardened heart or an ungodly mind could come up with such an insane statement to say to God. Yet God responded by raining down the bread of heaven!
While I was in prison it was an everyday occurrence to hear grumbling, murmuring and complaining. The food stinks, the canteen is out of my stuff, they don’t pay us enough, I don’t get visit’s or mail, the guard has something against me, they cut our recreation short...
Though nothing in prison changed when I returned as a born-again Christian, I had changed and had stopped the “why me” attitude and looked for the blessings no matter how small.
Like the Israelite’s, our natural instinct is to glamorize the past or grumble in the face of blessings. We are so busy asking “why me?’ that we don’t see the good in anything; our hearts are so hardened that nothing else matters.
When I was released from prison and began my job as a Pastor; I have experienced the same thing within our own congregations. So many are hard-hearted and grumble, complain, and murmur in spite of all the God sightings because their focus is on something else, maybe even something that happened in the past. But they are so caught up in themselves that they miss all the blessings that are happening.
The cool thing is that God sometimes blesses regardless of the hardened hearts. In Exodus 16:4, God said: “...behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you...whether they walk in my ways or not.” Wow! Ya see, there is something called “Common Grace,” and these are the things that the Lord bestows on all of us, whether we believe in Him or not, and in this passage God showed all the people His goodness and common grace by showering food upon them, even in the midst of their evil!
This is the kind of God we serve. Whether we deserve it or not, whether we obey Him or not, whether we fully understand the reasons for His commandments or not, we still receive His common grace and love. But obedience always brings blessings. And, just as the people in the congregation who complain, in verse 7-9 Moses asks: “But what are we, that you complain against us?...Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”
When we complain about our circumstances and blame others, in fact, we are complaining against the Lord, who exercises complete control over our circumstances!
We have been going through the book of Genesis here at the Oaks Church, and when we were talking about Adam and Eve eating of the fruit, we saw that of all the many wondrous blessings they had and surrounded by beauty created just for them, and the fact that they walked and talked and had relationship with the very Creator himself, they focused on the one restriction: not to eat of the one tree. How often do we do the same? We are surrounded by so many blessing, yet we focus on the one thing that takes our eyes off the blessings and we moan, groan, and complain. WE decide whether or not we will be happy and focus on the blessings or we want to tune in on something to take us away from all the blessings. Your choice. Choose wisely.