The people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord.
–Numbers 11:1

Chuck Swindoll tells a story about a man named Henry who lay in a darkened hospital room, attached to a maze of tubes, wires, and machines. Next to him was his wife of 55 years. In the hospital, Henry reached for the hand of the person he had known for more than five decades of marriage. “Ethel, is that you?” he asked. She said, “Yes.”

He said, “Ethel, you have been with me for 55 years of marriage.” She said, “Yes, I have been with you.” He said, “I remember in our first year of marriage when a fire destroyed everything we owned, you were there with me.” She said, “Yes, I was with you.” He said, “Then I remember when I lost my job and was unemployed for a year, and you were beside me.” And she said, “Yes, I was with you.” And then he said, “And several years ago, after my first stroke, you were with me then.” “Yes, I was with you then,” Ethel said. “And now in these final months, as I lay dying in this hospital bed, you’re with me again.” “Yes, dear,” she said, “I am with you.”

Henry paused for a moment and then said, “Ethel, you’re nothing but bad luck.”

Do you know people like that? No matter how good the situation is, they find something to complain about. That is the way complainers are. Complainers have the unique ability to drain the joy not only out of their own lives but also out of the lives of those around them. Make no mistake about it: complaining is no laughing matter to God. God hates complaining. The reason He hates grumbling so much is because it reveals a lack of gratitude for God’s blessings in the past, and it also reveals a lack of trust in God’s provision for the future. That is why God deals so harshly with the sin of complaining.

We can see how serious this sin is in Numbers 11. As we are traveling through this new year, we are looking at the experiences of the Israelites as they left Egypt and moved through the wilderness toward the Promised Land.

The Israelites had seen the Red Sea parted. They had defeated the Amalekites. And they had spent a year encamped around Mount Sinai, where they received God’s covenant. Now they were ready to move toward the Promised Land. It was an 11-day journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea, which would be the entry point into the Promised Land. But they had not even gone three days before “the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord” (Numbers 11:1).

What began as an 11-day journey turned into a 40-year journey. We must be careful not to allow complaining to keep us from what God has in store for us as well.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For Complaining” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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