When God Answers Complainers

By Edwin Christiaan | 2009

We have seen this so many times; dissatisfied Christians who complain and demand from God and people to give them what they want. They feel it is their right to have their needs fully met. Then, suddenly God answers their complaining, and give them what they want. Initially, they are very excited about their so-called “prayers” being answered, but after some time, what they thought was a blessing to them, turned into a great dissolution or even a tragedy. Getting what they so desperately wanted and demanded proved to be very costly, and wasn’t a blessing after all.

This is just like the story in the Bible about the Israelites, who God miraculously delivered from slavery and bondage from Egypt. Traveling through the dessert on the way to the land God promised them, they were continuously complaining to their leader Moses about the circumstances God brought them into. They felt unfairly treated – questioning God for taking them out of Egypt, and blaming Him for holding back their food of choice. It wasn’t enough for them that God provided daily manna (bread) straight from heaven, they still complained about having to eat this manna every day, and demanded meat instead.

Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt, and the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember all the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that we wanted. But now our appetites are gone, and day after day we have nothing to eat but this manna!” Numbers 11:4-6 NLT

They keep complaining and saying, ‘Give us meat!’ Numbers 11:13 NLT

So God answered the Israelites’ complaints of wanting to have meat, and it ends up becoming a very costly affair for them:

‘The LORD has heard your whining and complaints: “If only we had meat to eat! Surely we were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the LORD, who is here among you, and you have complained to him, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ‘ Numbers 11:18-20 NLT

Now the LORD sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall into the camp and all around it! For many miles in every direction from the camp there were quail flying about three feet above the ground. So the people went out and caught quail all that day and throughout the night and all the next day, too. No one gathered less than fifty bushels! They spread the quail out all over the camp. But while they were still eating the meat, the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and he caused a severe plague to break out among them. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah — “the graves of craving” — because they buried the people there who had craved meat from Egypt. Numbers 11:31-34 NLT

In the New Testament, we can read that this is one of the events that happened as an example for us, to serve as a warning not to fall in the same temptation of complaining.

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1. Corinthians 10:6-11 NKJV

Complaining is clearly a sin that gives a false impression on others of Jesus Christ and the Good News. That is the reason God warns us:

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. Philippians 2:14-15 NLT

The origin of complaining is motivated by “dissatisfaction,” which comes when our attention shifts of what we have, to what we don’t have. And in order to get what we don’t have, we end up aggressively fighting for it in our own strength, sinning against God.

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:2-3 NLT

When we ask God for something, He may grant us our request. But if we approach Him with a prideful attitude, getting what we want can have devastating results, because,

God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6 NLT

Instead, we should submit ourselves to God, asking Him to help us get rid of pride, complaining, and our selfish desires, and trust Him to give us what we really need. As we trust God, He will surely help us resist the temptation of complaining.

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 1. Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT

Copyright©2009 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan