TODAY'S WORD FOR Wednesday, January 16, 2019:
Expressing dissatisfaction, pain, resentment; find fault; protesting.
Do all things without murmurings (complaining) and disputing so that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
We have discussed before in these devotionals the blessings and the failures of the Children of Israel on their difficult journey to the Promised Land. Not all went well during their 40 year trek. Many scholars estimate that there were well over two million people walking together through the wilderness. During those 40 years roughly 1.2 million people died. That is an average of 82 deaths a day.
The journey in the wilderness was a long march of grief and loss. Every day there seemed to be complaining and resentment because of the hardship of the journey and the uncertainty in their minds if they would ever reach the Promised Land.
In Numbers chapters 11 through 21 we read that something goes tragically wrong. It was a time of rebellion and willful disobedience against God. The rebellion started according to the scriptures with murmuring and complaining.
Whenever you find yourself beginning to complain against your circumstances, consider this: You are on the threshold of rebellion. This is because rebellion always begins with complaining.
In this account the people began by complaining against their circumstances. The Israelites were called the “children” of Israel. They were chosen by God to be His representatives and as His children they were under His fatherly protection. Unfortunately, they acted like children that we know today. They whined and complained about everything.
God had given them manna and quail meat to eat and water to drink. But they complained because they did not like the taste of the meat and there was not enough water. The people got tired of the manna. God never intended for them to be this long in the wilderness but their complaining and turning away from God lengthened their journey. He intended them to move on into the land of Canaan but they continually rebelled against God.
They did not like God’s way so they stood in God’s way and prevented Him from doing His will in their lives. It wasn’t God’s will for them to wander 40 years in a barren wilderness. The wandering was a consequence of rebellion and disobedience.
Whose fault was it that they rebelled? It was not God’s fault because it was His plan for the people to possess a land of abundance and fulfillment. The people chose to turn their backs on God.
As bad as their life had been in Egypt they looked back on it and wailed out, “We were better off in Egypt!” Numbers 11:18. When we turn our backs on God we can only look backward on old ways and we are not able to look forward and move on to the new life that God wants to lead us into. The rebellious generation of Israelites died in the wilderness and missed out on the blessing and bountiful provision that God had waiting for the next generation in the Promised land.
The people complained not only about their circumstances but also against the blessing of God and His provisions for them. Then they complained about the leadership of Aaron and Moses who had been chosen by God. They judged themselves by their own standards and rebelled against the properly, God ordained, constituted authorities in their midst.
These are characteristics of defeated Christians today. They begin by complaining because their evil thinking differs from God’s. Then complaining turns into rebellion against God. Take a good look at all times when you begin to complain. Are you complaining because of your standard of what is good or bad or what is God’s standard of what is good or bad? Most likely you want things to be the way you want them to be. Let go of your complaint and pray asking God to do His will in your life in His way and in His perfect timing. Complainers cannot be what God wants His children to be. We are to be blameless and without fault so that we shine as bright lights in a crooked and sinful world. To be a bright light we must be morally and spiritually different from unbelievers.
Never turn your back on God but keep your eyes on Jesus and move onward to seize onto the blessings that God has in store for you.
Our memory verse for this week is found in I Peter 5:7.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Help each member of our family to learn from the example of the Israelites and the consequences of complaining and being in rebellion against God. May we learn not to complain, especially about the small things in life, but may we give our concerns to the Lord and ask Him to change our complaining to rejoicing. Let us seek to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him so He can lead us onward to a new life filled with His blessings. Help us to be morally and spiritually right so we shine as bright lights in this sinful world.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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