Complaining – Part 1


“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.
Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them.”

Numbers‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬-‭3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Complaining. It is always annoying and difficult to talk about without actually doing it yourself! Complaining deals with dissatisfaction of current situations, with the desire to attain “something better.” (My personal definition)

Here we have freed Israelites, led around in the wilderness by Moses, protected by God and provided for by God. They might not like what they have, but it is something and it is enough or else God would have actively provided more for them. (Stay tuned for future posts, as we find out what God does later in the chapter.)

But let’s look at this “burning” anger. It starts to sound metaphorical but then quickly moves into the physical realm. The fire of God consumed the outlying parts of the camp, the fringe.

It isn’t until the people cried out to Moses (complaining maybe sprinkled with sorrow?) that Moses then prays and the fire dies down. As we will see later in the chapter, this doesn’t solve anything deep. Just the immediate danger and consequences of the complaining people. It is a pattern that the people of God get into quite frequently.

Do you complain or at least more than you think you should? Is complaining ever appropriate? If so, when? Many times we present problems though our complaints but never bring feasible solutions.

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