Updated: Mar 1
Numbers 14:18a declares that the Lord is “longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” The extent to which He suffers long with us is truly remarkable and something we should not take lightly, particularly in light of our own fickleness! In fact, we are so fickle that we can easily shift from gratitude to discontentment in a moment; all we need to do is focus on what we do not have!
Exodus 15 features what is commonly known as “The Song of Moses”, a song that both Moses and the children of Israel sang unto the Lord after He miraculously delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians (read the full account of Israel’s deliverance in Exodus 14). The song is filled with numerous declarations of God’s greatness, mercy, and power (cf. Exodus 15:1-18). Yet as the Israelites set off into the wilderness of Shur not soon after and traveled through there for three days without any good water to drink, they complained and grumbled against Moses saying, “What are we going to drink?” (cf. Exodus 15:22-25).
The issue was not the request; it was their attitude! The Israelites had just witnessed the Lord part a large body of water to help them escape from the fast-approaching Egyptians and collapse the same body of water on top of the Egyptians, thereby completely wiping out their enemies! Rather than complain about what they were going to drink, they should have cried out to the Lord and asked Him to supply them with water to drink, just as Moses did. This one complaint instantly became a trend among the Israelites as they continued to travel throughout the wilderness (cf. Exodus 16:1-3, 17:1-3).
Complaining reveals our discontentment regarding a situation and even our frustration with God. It fails to accomplish anything because it is not rooted in faith! We complain because we are not content with what we have, and we complain rather than pray because prayer challenges us to die to our discontented attitude and submit to the will of the Father! When it becomes tempting to grumble about any and everything, make your requests known to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving (cf. Philippians 4:6). Complaining is passive; praying is active!