Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and disputing: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke,in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
We are up to No. 4 today. One more to go in this series.
Psalm 106:25, “They murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.” Read the story in Numbers chapter 14, especially verses 2 and 27.
Where were the people complaining? In their tents, which were their dwelling places in the wilderness. Where does most complaining happen? In the home. But what does it do? It tears down the home, whether we complain about our circumstances, the work we have to do, or our husband. Not only do the walls of our home hear it, but our children hear it—and God hears it!
The children of Israel murmured and complained against Moses and Aaron, but when God heard it, He said they were complaining against Him. God saysin Numbers 14:27, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against Me? I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me.” Stop press! Help! When we murmur and complain about all our problems, God hears it as murmuring against Him.
The ten spies had returned from spying out the land of Canaan. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, but they complained about the fortified cities and the giants they would have to fight. It looked impossible! Even after all the miracles of coming out of Egypt and provision in the wilderness, they did not believe God could help them. They blamed Moses for bringing them out of Egypt. They complained that all their children would be taken as salves. What happened? God told them, “Get back into the wilderness…” He told them that they would all die in the wilderness and their children who they complained would be taken as slaves would be the ones who would go into this magnificent land. Where do we end up when we complain? In the wilderness.
Wives and mothers,
we take our families into
a wilderness journey
when we complain!
The root of complaining is unbelief. “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” The Israelites cried out in unbelief. (Psalm 78:19). “How could we ever have another baby?” you cry out in unbelief. “We can hardly make ends meet now!” “How can we afford to educate our children?” “How can I put up with this little house any longer? I need more room” And so it goes on.
Here’s a good habit to start. Change every sigh into a Hallelujah! Every time you are tempted to complain, turn your heart to the Lord and acknowledge His power and His presence. “Thank you, Lord, I trust you. I know that you are ordering my footsteps. I thank you that you are with me in these circumstances.” It will take time to establish this new habit, but keep at it.
It doesn’t mean that your circumstances will necessarily change, but you will change. God promises in Isaiah 43:1-3 that when you pass through the waters, that “I will be with you. They will not overflow you.” God says that when you go through the fire that “You will not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you.”
What is our confession? “I’m going through a fiery trial. I don’t know how I can make it.” Or, “Thank you, Lord, no matter how hot it gets, I will not be burned because you are with me!”
I remember when complaining as a young child that my mother would immediately direct me to think about those who were poor and suffering in the world and didn’t have all the blessings that I had. It’s not a bad idea. There are millions in the world who live in abject poverty, without running water, adequate food, shelter or any of the basic amenities of life which we are used to. My husband, who has ministered in the slums of India and many third world countries, often says, “Just to live in a tent in America makes you a millionaire!”
I think about the Karen people, the displaced people of Burma who have been fighting a genocidal war against them from the Burmese government for over 50 years. We complain about keeping up with homeschooling. The Karen try to school their children while they live in hiding. We complain when things are not just as we want them when we give birth. Many Karen mothers give birth while running from the enemy. No time for recovery. No time for relaxing with their baby. No gifts. No excited calls from family and friends.
The wife the founder of the “Free Burma Rangers” shares about the love, forgiveness and generosity of the Karen, even in the midst of suffering and hardship. She says, “The gifts they gave were of themselves—their time, energy and love. In my experience in the West it is easier to go to the store and buy a trinket as a gift. For this reason I have chosen to raise my children in this war. The influence of these people is something I have never experienced anywhere else.”
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Oh Lord, I find it so easy to complain. Please give me strength to create a new habit of praising instead of protesting, gladdening others instead of grumbling and being content instead of complaining. Amen.”
“Not for the lip of praise alone,Nor e’en the praising heartI ask, but for a life made upOf praise in every part!” Horatius Bonar
Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week. If you are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller, highlight and change to a smaller font.