Complaining is Anti-Praise

Complaining, Grumbling, and Murmuring are Anti-Thanksgiving and Anti-Praise!

Read this verse and then select the most correct answer for the following question.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, (Philippians 2:14 NET)

This verse above concerning grumbling (i.e., complaining) is a(n) ____________ .

a.     suggestion

b.     tip

c.     order

d.     metaphor

Answer: c

We have been ordered to stop complaining.  Require more evidence? (Deuteronomy 19:15. Matthew 18:16. 2 Corinthians 13:1)

The following New Testament passage summarizes what happened to the Israelites after God rescued them from Egypt.

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. (1 Corinthians 10:1-10 NET)

The following scriptures allow us to examine this Old Testament Story in greater detail:

Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. Miriam sang in response to them, "Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea." Then Moses led Israel to journey away from the Red Sea. They went out to the Desert of Shur, walked for three days into the desert, and found no water. Then they came to Marah, but they were not able to drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter. (That is why its name was Marah.) So the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What can we drink?" (Exodus 15:20-24 NET)
When they journeyed from Elim, the entire company of Israelites came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their exodus from the land of Egypt. The entire company of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron in the desert. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!" (Exodus 16:1-3 NET)
The whole community of the Israelites traveled on their journey from the Desert of Sin according to the LORD's instruction, and they pitched camp in Rephidim. Now there was no water for the people to drink. So the people contended with Moses, and they said, "Give us water to drink!" Moses said to them, "Why do you contend with me? Why do you test the LORD?" But the people were very thirsty there for water, and they murmured against Moses and said, "Why in the world did you bring us up out of Egypt– to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?" (Exodus 17:1-3 NET)
They made an image of a calf at Horeb, and worshiped a metal idol. They traded their majestic God for the image of an ox that eats grass. They rejected the God who delivered them, the one who performed great deeds in Egypt, amazing feats in the land of Ham, mighty acts by the Red Sea. He threatened to destroy them, but Moses, his chosen one, interceded with him and turned back his destructive anger. They rejected the fruitful land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents; they did not obey the LORD. So he made a solemn vow that he would make them die in the desert,  (Psalms 106:19-26 NET)
When the people complained, it displeased the LORD. When the LORD heard it, his anger burned, and so the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. When the people cried to Moses, he prayed to the LORD, and the fire died out. So he called the name of that place Taberah because there the fire of the LORD burned among them. Now the mixed multitude who were among them craved more desirable foods, and so the Israelites wept again and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are dried up, and there is nothing at all before us except this manna!" (Numbers 11:1-6 NET)

God is sovereign (1).  This means that all circumstances of life – whether they appear to us as good or bad – are ultimately under the control of God.  

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET)
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul,(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NET)

That is, even Satan is under God’s control (1):

All your children will be followers of the LORD, and your children will enjoy great prosperity. You will be reestablished when I vindicate you. You will not experience oppression; indeed, you will not be afraid. You will not be terrified, for nothing frightening will come near you. If anyone dares to challenge you, it will not be my doing! Whoever tries to challenge you will be defeated. Look, I create the craftsman, who fans the coals into a fire and forges a weapon. I create the destroyer so he might devastate. No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants– I will vindicate them," says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:13-17 NET)

Realize, complaining is telling God that you are not satisfied with Him as “the Boss.”  This includes complaining in the workplace, church, home, the world, etc.  It is not even acceptable to complain in the guise of a prayer request. We complain because it brings attention to ourselves and, therefore, a false sense of comfort.  We rehearse our problems so others can see how bad we have it and give us pity.  Like all sin, there is temporary pleasure in complaining (Hebrews 11:25). However, complaining is the opposite of thanksgiving and praise.  When we offer thanksgiving, we thank God for what He has done (e.g., thank you for supplying the manna).  When we offer praise, we thank God for who He is (e.g., You are my Provider).  However, when we complain, we are telling God – thanks but no thanks!

You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, "How have we wearied him?" Because you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord's opinion, and he delights in them," or "Where is the God of justice?" (Malachi 2:17 NET)
When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his words is wise. (Proverbs 10:19 NET)

Furthermore, our murmuring and disputing directly affect our Christian witness.  The world is looking for the proverbial “Home on the Range.”  The place where never is heard a discouraging word…  

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6 NET)
to aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you. (1 Thessalonians. 4:11 NET)

Dear Hearts, God has built the Church to be that proverbial “Home on the Range!”

Joy Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

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Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX