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Bible verses about Complaining
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 16:7

The people thought that they were complaining against Moses and Aaron, but Moses said, "No, you are murmuring against God." They did not see God in the same way that Moses did. He saw God ruling over His creation. He understood that he was God's servant, so when they complained against Moses, they were really complaining against God. Moses interpreted the situation as, if God wanted something done differently, He probably would have moved Moses to act differently.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)

Related Topics: Complaining | Murmuring


 

Exodus 17:2-4

The Israelites were only too happy to receive liberty from their bondage to Egypt. But were very unwilling to obey God, complaining loudly, even rebelling in the wilderness, accusing Moses, Aaron, and by extension, God Himself, for the hardships in the wilderness despite the liberty they received from God through these men.

Being in the church is no different, in that sense. We have become part of a body, a nation, the body of Christ, a royal priesthood. God looks at us both as individuals and as a body, and He leads and guides that entire body. He expects those who are now part of the body through baptism and the receipt of His Holy Spirit to be willing to endure whatever the body goes through. Israel was unwilling to do that.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 2)

Job 2:10

Should a Christian allow himself to bemoan God's goodness even during a trial? When Job's wife wanted him to curse God for bringing trials upon him, Job expressed the right principle of God's universal goodness and fairness when he rebuked her for grumbling.

There are times when we may feel like God is not treating us fairly. Job points out that, as God's creations and recipients of His generosity and benevolence, we have no right to complain when He allows us to be afflicted or tests us through hardship.

Martin G. Collins
Fear the Lord's Goodness!

Malachi 3:13-16

Malachi wrote in Judea between the return from Babylon and Christ's birth. During that period God's people had grown lackadaisical in their worship, yet a faithful few remained.

"'Your words have been harsh against Me,' says the LORD." God accuses them of calling Him into account for what was happening within the nation. They were experiencing difficult times, just as the people of God have frequently endured difficult times. These are times when we cry out to God, "Why, God? Why are you allowing this to happen? When are you going to intervene?" but He does not seem to be listening.

"Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?'" They did not feel that their accusations were against God, but He gives them an example (verses 14-15).

The faithful can see that these others are not very godly. Maybe they see that "the proud" are sinning openly, breaking the commandments of God. Maybe the proud do not have a submissive, quiet, and gentle spirit. Maybe they are aggressive and assertive, and they maneuvered themselves to the head of the group. And they seemed to be getting away with it!

Notice what these faithful people did in response to the difficult times they were enduring as part of the ekklesia (verse 16). All of God's faithful people should do these things:

1). They feared God. They respected and revered Him. They stood in awe of Him. Some may have even felt an appropriate measure of terror.

2). They thought on His name. They meditated on it. It can suggest that they esteemed His name. They spoke highly of it. They honored Him. They looked to Him, though they were complaining for leadership and guidance. His name, of course, stands for everything that He is. He does not have just one name, He has many names. They show, or advertise, what He is, what He will do, and what He requires.

3). They fellowshipped with one another. No doubt they spoke of their trials and their blessings, about the things that were going on in the ekklesia of that day, of their studies into God's Word, of their plans, of their expectations of the Kingdom of God. God heard! God watched and responded, maybe not when they would have liked Him to respond, but God did respond in His time, when it was right for His purposes.

So will He respond to us!

Then God makes a wonderful promise to those who fear Him: "'They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, 'on that day that I make them My jewels [special treasure—margin]. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him'" (verse 17). In Isaiah 49:15-16, God says, "Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands...." He is watching! He is aware of what is going on, and He will act!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!

Luke 10:16

Luke 10:16 shows that one way to slam the door shut on Christ is to look at the men giving the messages rather than the God who is behind them: "My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me. Anyone who says 'No' to you is saying 'No' to me. And anyone who says 'No' to me is really saying 'No' to the one who sent me" (Contemporary English Version).

If we believe in how minutely God is involved in our lives, then it follows that what is preached in Sabbath services has a purpose and is allowed by the Sovereign God. Therefore, a complaint that we have about a speaker or the message is a complaint against God. Despising the spiritual food God has prepared is dangerous ground to tread.

This does not mean the speaker is infallible, by any means, but the wrong attitude effectively diminishes what we can glean from his message. A safer approach would be to offer a prayer for help to understand and see how the food is for our good (Psalm 84:11) rather than to slam the door on the message or the messenger. Either we trust and have faith in God's sovereignty and His love for us, or we do not. There is no safe middle ground (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Pat Higgins
Are We Opening the Door?

1 Corinthians 10:10

Among the truly distinctive biblical terms describing the attitudes of those journeying through the wilderness are forms of the term "murmur." Such words are not used much today, as most would use a form of "complain," "gripe," "grumble," "protest," "criticize," or "whine." In referring to the children of Israel in the wilderness, the King James Version uses a form of "murmur" 24 times.

It is natural to complain against afflictions, losses, and hopeful expectations dashed. We seem to think that our possessions are ours unconditionally, especially those things on which we had set our hearts. We feel that, having worked diligently, we are entitled to success and deserve to enjoy and keep what we have accumulated. In the same way, when we are surrounded by a loving family, no one has a right to break into that circle and strike down a loved one.

We live our lives under the sovereignty of God, whose watchful oversight is on us constantly. How do we react to Him when things are not going well? It is easy to gripe without even thinking of the ever-watchful God who promises to supply our every need. We may find ourselves complaining to Him about our state of affairs, as if He is totally unaware. Have we forgotten that this One, who by His grace has called us into a relationship with Him, has neither afflicted us nor allowed us to be afflicted anywhere near what we truly deserve as the wages of our sinful lives?

One of the benefits of fully accepting the sovereignty of God is not always appreciated because its cause and solution are not always understood. Comprehending God's sovereignty brings resignation into our lives. In this day, being resigned to something almost seems like a position of defeat, as though at best we have to choose the lesser of two evils rather than forging ahead in confidence to grab life's brass ring.

The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary defines resignation as "the quality of being submissive; unresisting acquiescence." The Reader's Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder defines it as "uncomplaining endurance of a sorrow or difficulty." The mention of endurance is noteworthy because of Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:13 for the need of endurance.

A major benefit of intelligently living by faith, seeking God through His Word, meditating on what we study, and relating everything in life to an awareness of God, looking for His hand in events, is that these activities will gradually produce a much deeper awareness of His loving nearness. It gives us a clearer sense that everything is under control. Recall Jesus' crossing the turbulent Sea of Galilee during a storm. There are huge waves and high winds. The disciples are terrified, but He is sleeping right through it. In fear, they wake Him. He arises and says to the wind and waves, "Peace, be still," and they immediately calm. He then asks His disciples, "Why are you so fearful; how is it that you have no faith?"

When we have a right and true recognition of God's sovereignty, the griping and fears that we are so prone to because human nature is so easily offended can diminish considerably. Understanding God's sovereignty better teaches us that we must know that our lives are in God's hands. He owns us body and soul, we are in His view at all times, and we must bow to His will. Therefore, regardless of circumstances, He can take care of us.

He never afflicts us with more than we deserve nor more than we can bear (I Corinthians 10:13). If He chooses poverty, poor health, or family problems for us, we must understand that He never piles more on us than we deserve. After all, we killed His Son, and besides that, He has great plans for us in His Kingdom for which we need to be prepared.

An upset woman once complained to her minister that church members had heaped much scorn on her and her family by saying derogatory things about them. She asked the minister if anybody else in his memory had had to endure such things. He replied, "Yes, Jesus Christ. All His disciples abandoned Him, and the government put Him, an innocent man, to death. He not only did not complain, He accepted God's will, and before He died, He forgave them all."

There are other examples: Job says, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away" (Job 1:21). God took away seven sons and three daughters, as well as his wealth and home. As a young boy, Samuel delivered God's judgments on Eli's two sons. That surely must have stung the old priest, but Eli responded, "Let [the LORD] do what seems good to Him" (I Samuel 3:18). Aaron accepted God's verdict of death on his two sons without a murmur (Leviticus 10:3).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty, Part Three: The Fruits


 




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