In weeks 2 and 3 we saw how God had heard the cries and prayers of his people. He was concerned about their suffering, so he came down and rescued them from Egypt and he promised them he was taking them towards a land flowing with milk and honey, and equipped them with everything they needed for the journey..
Read Numbers 11:1-6
The Israelites had started to complain about their hardships and the way God was providing for them on their journey to the Promised Land. After all they had seen God do for them, they had started complaining: “If only we had . . . “ (verse 4)
Complaining never changes our circumstances but it does change us.
- The goal is to focus on what we do have. Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Let us not allow our plans to cause us to miss his guiding us towards our blessings and a greater life with God.
- One of the reasons the Israelites started complaining again (verse 4) was because of the “rabble” (non- Jewish people) that were with them. In this season of pressure, it is so important that we surround ourselves with the right people. This one thing can determine how we survive today and whether we take hold the promises of God.
- Complaining drains us of the capacity we need for our calling. A trip that was meant to take 11 days took 40 years.
- Ephesians 4:31 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.” You see a lot of us carry around bitterness from our past disappointments. What seems to us to be bitter trials, are often blessings in disguise.
We have a choice: to be frustrated at God for what we don’t have or to be thankful for what we do.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: “Thank God in everything (no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks) for this is the will of God.” God is not saying give thanks FOR; he is saying give thanks IN everything and every situation, no matter what the circumstance may be.
“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:19b-20.
Paul wrote this IN a time of being locked up. Paul had learned the secret of being content in any situation, living in plenty or in want. His ability to be thankful wasn’t based on what he had, but on who he knew.
- Acknowledges God as the source of every good thing in our lives.
- Turns what we have into enough.
- Helps us get through tragedy.
- Releases us from being caught up in the injustices of a fallen world.
- Allows us to see the wins in seasons where most people see failure and loss.
- Remembers how the Lord has carried us through many pressures in our past.
- Guards our hearts from grumbling.
- Reduces stress.
- Improves mood.
- Clears our minds.
- Results in less anxiety.
- Makes us more resilient.
- Helps us make healthier decisions.
- Helps us see GOD’S HEART.
- Guards our hearts against the enemy.
- Fills our hearts with peace as we count our blessings.
- Deepens our faith.
- Fills our lives with joy.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Bettie
Philippians 8:8 says: “If there is anything worthy of praise, think continuously on these things.” (Centre your mind on them and implant them in your heart.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: “It’s only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Questions for reflection:
- What can you add to the gratitude list from your own life?
- What practical steps will you take in your own life to deal with complaining or bitterness?
- In the light of what you’ve just learnt, how can church attendance (or online fellowship in times of covid) help you in these areas?
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