“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when He heard them His anger was aroused.” – Numbers 11:1
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'” -Job 1:20, 21
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” – Philippians 2:14, 15
“As an example of suffering and patience…we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” – James 5:10, 11
We love to complain. It is the favorite past time of our culture. If you want instant friends just start complaining about something and you will draw a crowd of like minded discontents. It is even more prevalent in this time of pandemic and political transition. No matter what side of the stream we are standing on we love to complain! What is it about us?
Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that complaining has always been something that people have done. This is nothing new. People throughout the ages have always enjoyed and practiced the ancient art of “whining”. This is also the bad news…we love to grumble. What makes this destructive habit even worse is that it angers the Lord. There are not many things that “push God’s buttons”, so to speak, but whining is one of them! The Scripture reveals that God can’t stand to hear us complain and grumble about our circumstances, our brothers, or how “unfair” our life is.
The Book of Job and the Book of Psalms are filled with emotional expression throughout. Both Job and David experienced things in their lives that brought them to tears, discouragement, and even “whining” to God. Both of these godly men found themselves frustrated with their life situations. They both expressed this in poetry and prose and they both found a sense of peace in their relationship with a loving Father. It is important to point out that the peace that they found in the Father came regardless of their situation changing. In other words, it was a change of perspective based on their faith and trust in a gracious God.
God often got frustrated and even angry with the people of Israel when they would “grumble and complain”. Throughout the Bible our patient God does not tolerate a spirit of ingratitude or entitlement. That makes sense since this is a visual manifestation of the selfish pride that is at the root of our sinful condition. So, what can we learn from these men of faith?
First, we can know that this tendency to “whine” and complain is common to us all. Although we know from the Scripture that this is ungodly behavior in the follower of Jesus, we are not unique when we are tempted to get negative and start to grumble. Second, they model for us the process for bringing our attitudes back in line with the Lord. Both David and Job shifted their focus from their suffering to their sufficiency in an all powerful all knowing God. A re-adjusting of their perspective.
Job found it through prayer and David found it in song. Both found it by focusing on God and their trust or faith in Him…even if they did not understand it all. How about you? Have you found yourself “whining” lately? The next time you are tempted to take part in this favorite past time, pause, and remember that God is with you, and He knows you, and He knows where you are, and He’s in control. He’s got this. Do you trust Him?