And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. ~Numbers 11:1-2
Have you ever accidentally burned your toast? If you have, you know that there is a blackened, charred effect that makes the toast inedible. We sometimes use the term “toast” to describe a failure or a situation that has gone bad. This morning, we see a true incident in the Bible that resulted in a divine fire storm and the toasting of a lot of people. This morning, we see how complaining can make burnt toast out of us.
We see the condition of complaining.
The people of Israel were complaining about their situation. They complained that they did not have water or food. They were complaining because they had to walk as a large congregation. They were complaining about Moses' leadership and God’s lack of attention to them. When we complain, it is because we feel like we have been inconvenienced. It is because we did not get things the way we wanted them. It is because we have low to no tolerance for other people who might be in charge. Complaining is when we are dissatisfied, disgruntled, and discontented. It is a reflection of being unthankful, being spoiled, and having an arrogant opinion of who we think we are.
We see the contagion in complaining.
Complaining is very contagious. We read that the people complained. It only took one person on one end of the camp and another person on another end of the camp, and, before you knew it, the entire camp was complaining. People who complain find strength in numbers. The larger the number of complainers, the louder and more vocal the complaining. I have found that complaining spreads faster than compliments. Our flesh would rather complain than give thanks. Be careful of looking for someone who is as critical as you are. They are not hard to find, and when two complainers get together, neither are ever better off.
We see the chastening of complaining.
The complaining displeased the Lord and His anger was kindled. The people of Israel had a wonderful opportunity within their tents to thank the Lord for His deliverance and care for them. Instead, they let God and Moses know in no uncertain terms of their discontent. God chastened the complaining spirit by sending fire among them. We read that "the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp." The chastening by fire was a powerful message. God purged through fire. God parted ways with fire. I imagine that there was a terrible, lingering smell that fire had burned among them. Fire and burning are a symbol of trial and testing. God had to use the means of fire to burn away the sin problem. Fire was God’s instrument to remove and to revive.
We see the controlling of complaining.
Moses interceded for the people. Moses prayed unto the Lord. Complaining is not eliminated, but it can be controlled. Prayer was the means to stop the chastening and put a halt to the complaining. When we find ourselves complaining, it is time to pray and seek the Lord’s face. When we find ourselves among people who are complaining, then we must take time to pray for them and their deliverance.
Don’t become toasted from complaining. Complaining never does anyone good. Give yourself to prayer and the ministry of thanksgiving. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Have a contented God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Timothy 1-3