Complaining to God?
By Ysrael De la Cruz
I got the chance to talk with someone who was very angry at God because of a family situation he was experiencing. You may have been there yourself, those moments when you ask God why are you doing this to me? What are you doing God? Have you ever been there? Have you ever asked God why?
When the nation of Israel left Egypt, they encamped in the desert of Sinai (3 months after leaving Egypt) Ex.19:1 This is where God gave Moses the law and regulations by which the nation will live. The nation spent two years and two months in this desert. Numbers 10:11(the building of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and the utensils for worship, as well as the consecration of priests and their garments took place during this time)
When you read chapter 11 in the book of Numbers you are informed that the people complained about the hardships on their journey. It seems that the Jewish people always complained about something. In this chapter they complained about wanting meat to eat; they were tired of the manna God provided for them. Their complaint was so intense that it made God angry and overwhelmed Moses. Complaining is contagious, for we read about Moses complaining to God here.
Moses heard the people whining at the entrance of his tent. The LORD became extremely angry and Moses was trouble.
The complaint (v.4-6) The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
This made God very angry and Moses was displeased (aggravated)
Wailing and complaining is contagious; it got to Moses. Moses went to God to complain about the situation. (v.11-15)
Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?
What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?
Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 if this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now -if I have found favor in your eyes-and do not let me face my own ruin.
Can you relate to Moses? Why are you doing this to me God? Did I do something to displease you and now you are punishing me?
He was overwhelmed by the complaints of the people and he could not do anything to help their situation. So, he complained to God and asked him to kill him before this situation would ruin his life.
Moses became self-centered, check out the many times the pronoun “I” or personal pronoun “Me” appear in his talking to God.
Moses thought God was punishing him by allowing this to happen. (V.10) Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to displease you that you bring this trouble on me?
Moses reminded God that he did not ask for the task of leading that nation (v.12) Did I give birth to these people? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant?
Moses knew he could not meet the demands of the people (v.13) They wanted meat and there were 600, 000 men on foot. Where can I get meat for all these people?
“I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.” (v.14)
Moses asked God to kill him and save him for this misery (v.15)
“If this is how you are going to treat me kill me now. If I have found favor in your eyes and do not let me face my own ruin.
God’s response to Moses (v.16-20)
-70 elders among the people will help Moses. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. (v.17). God won’t remove the burden; he will give Moses more people to help him out. He created a team to help Moses. Sometimes God doesn’t remove the problem, he brings help, so you learn how to resolve the problem. Once again God will provide what you need in the case of Moses, he needed more people to help him carry the burdens of the people since he complained to God about being alone.
God will give the people what they wanted, what they craved (v.18) But it will be too much for them.
Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat.
God will give people meat, but this blessing will become their downfall. They will eat meat for a whole month, and they will detest it and it will make them sick. (v.19) God will punish these people by giving them what they want. Why?
(v.20) They rejected the LORD. Rejecting God has consequences.
Moses self-centeredness (v.21-23)
600,000 men on foot. Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them?
-He still thought he would be responsible to provide the meat for the people. He did not hear what God said, Moses just forgot that God is the great provided.
God is true to his word (v.23)
Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true.
God reminded Moses that he is true to his word; if he said he will provide meat tomorrow; he will provide it. But Moses is looking at the size of the crowd rather than hearing the words of God. Moses is looking at the problem, rather than looking at the one who is limitless.
Do you need to hear these words from God? Is God not enough for you? Not big enough for you?
When our focus is off, the difficulty, the conflict, the problem seems beyond our ability, and it may be. But this is when we need to trust God fully, for he is bigger than anything we could face. Our God is infinite (boundless)
When we face any difficulty in life bring your concerns to God. But don’t restrict God with your prayers and concerns. Moses’ perspective needed to be recalibrated. He limited God with his concern; he saw the problem greater than his God. Complaining to God shows a limited perspective on God. Moses asked God why are you doing this to me? I can’t do this God… He forgot God has a plan in what he allows us to go through; even during hardships and difficulties he is still with us. He uses hardships and trials to recalibrate our outlook in life, to renew our dependence on him and not on ourselves; God develops our character through the trials. We must be aware not to rebel against God by complaining about the situation to the point that we sin against God by speaking ill about his plan and provisions. Nothing we face is bigger than our God; his word is true. He is limitless.