Grumbling and Complaining

January 22, 2018 at 11:16 AM

I’m reading through Exodus and it is absolutely amazing to me how often the Hebrews rescued and led out of Egypt to become the nation of Israel, complained about everything! I try not to be too hard on them but at times I wonder how God Himself could be so patient with them? Obviously, as God, His love and patience are far greater than ours and there were times where His patience came to an end.

I also try to remind myself that these people came out of Egypt and had been surrounded by the idolatry and atheism (where Jehovah was concerned), that was so prevalent in Egypt itself. Over 600,000 men (not counting women and children) left Egypt for the Promised Land and it is a sure bet that most were in it for what they could get out of it.

It seems that God’s plan always included paring things down to a believing remnant and while that remnant got very small at times, there is coming a time in the future when a final remnant specifically chosen by God will survive the coming Tribulation period and enter into the comparative bliss of the Millennial Kingdom reign of Jesus. Even though the Bible provides highlights of that coming time, it is difficult to fully appreciate because of the times we live in now. I try to remind myself of the terrible times in which the original escapees to the Promised Land lived.

However, try as I might, it is difficult not to become frustrated with them for their extreme selfishness at times. Let’s take a look at a few highlights. I’m discussing their attitudes as a warning to myself and putting it out there for you as well so that we can guard ourselves from becoming the same type of person that many of the original Israelites were before God. The only excuse is narcissism and that is no excuse because it fully involves our sinfulness.

Starting in Exodus 5, we see where things began to get harder for the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Moses went to Pharaoh and asked that they be released to go into the wilderness to worship. Pharaoh not only refused but accused the people of having too much time on their hands. He ordered that they be given no straw. They would have to find their own and still meet their quotas. They couldn’t so they got upset with Moses, who in turn, went to the Lord, who began to unfold His plan to Moses.

The plan included harsh realities and Moses needed to be prepared. This grumbling of the Hebrews becomes their downfall on many occasions. In Exodus 6, God lays out His promise of deliverance. God notes that it won’t be easy and it is deliberately designed that way to bring much glory to God.

Exodus 7 shows us Moses/Aaron before Pharaoh and the first plague of ten to rain down on Egypt. The final and tenth plague (Exodus 12) is the death of all firstborn in Egypt. It is this final plague that destroys Pharaoh’s stubbornness but only for enough time to allow the Hebrews to “plunder” the Egyptians, leave, and stop on the west side of the Red Sea.

After the Hebrews leave, Pharaoh has an attack of remorse and chases after the Hebrews. He corners them at the Red Sea but God intervenes with His Pillar of Cloud to keep the Egyptians at bay. Of course the people are afraid thinking their deaths are right around the corner, but God has a different plan.

Ultimately, God parts the water of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews walk across on dry ground. The Egyptians try to follow and the waters go back destroying all of them including Pharaoh (Exodus 14). Following this, Moses and Miriam gave much praise to the Lord in word and song.

One would think this phenomenal miracle would carry the Hebrews for quite some time, wouldn’t you? I mean, we’d like to think that if we witnessed such salvation with towering water on each side as you passed through the Red Sea on dry ground, it would create an indelible mark of faith in your life. Yet, it was a mere three days later (Exodus 15:22), that the Hebrews/Israelites came to a place where the water was so bitter it was undrinkable. Instead of waiting to see what the Lord would do, the people began complaining.

And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” (Exodus 15:24 ESV)

Three days is all it took for the people to forget how God had miraculously saved them! They were grumbling again! In Exodus 16, the people again grumbled about being hungry.

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:2-3 ESV)

They already wanted to go back to Egypt. Is this unbelievable or not? Time and time again, God works a miracle for them and they grumble each and every time they’re faced with a new trial. God never tempted them but He certainly tested them and He does the same to us as well.

The Israelites became masters at grumbling and complaining in spite of all the miracles God performed for them. His supernatural ability was routinely on display through Moses and Aaron, yet it did not hold the people over for any real length of time. How said is that?

If we fast forward to the New Testament gospels, we see this same attitude where Jesus is concerned. Regardless of how many miracles He performed, it was never enough. It was never good enough for most. They thought they needed more. They certainly wanted more miracles, but not so much more of Jesus.

We have the exact same problem happening right now throughout Christendom. It is absurd. It is sacrilegious. It is anti-God even though people blindly believe that what they want is pro-God and speaks of their supposed love for Him.

I read an interesting article the other day from Church Watch in which they discussed the miracles that are believed achieved today by Christians. The article is here – ‘Bethelated’ spirits? Bethel teaching we can walk through walls & walk on water.

What is interesting to note is that there are folks at Bethel Church in Redding, CA who believe and insist that Christians today should be able to walk on water and through walls. Why? Because Jesus did that and so should we. How do they get there? By misrepresenting John 14:12.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (ESV)

The absurdity in the way Bethel folks twist the Scripture here is obvious, but not to them. They believe Jesus is saying that Christians will be able to do greater “miracles” than He did even though Jesus is referring to greater works. What’s the difference? I cannot do miracles. It’s beyond me. You cannot do miracles. Even with the Holy Spirit living within us, sealing us unto the day of redemption, we are incapable of doing miracles.

But the folks at Bethel – and I’ll remind readers that Bethel Church is part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), where the miraculous and supernatural are emphasized – believe that as Christians, we are actually “little gods” because of our union with Jesus and whatever He could do, we can do only better.

Really? Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and even raised the dead. I see a lot of hocus pocus going on in videos and I recall from my days involved in the Charismatic Movement, there was a great deal of what appeared to be supernatural activity, but what is really happening? Has anyone actually been miraculously given their sight? Has a deaf person actually had their hearing restored? More importantly, has anyone ever been raised from the dead? While Benny Hinn claims he raised someone from the dead, there is absolutely not one iota of proof for it. No cameras were rolling. No one had a smart phone capturing it. Nothing. It’s Hinn’s word, period.

But my point is since we know that Jesus did these things, are there any other miracles that are actually greater than raising the dead? I cannot think of any, can you? But these folks at Bethel believe they will do greater miracles than Jesus. How?! What?!

One pastor’s wife over at Bethel says she practices walking on water in her bathtub and admits she has not done it yet, but believes she will. Her greatest concern though is that more Christians aren’t trying to walk on water. What? While she’s busy trying to walk across her bathtub, people are dying into eternity without Jesus! While she is trying to walk through walls, people are leaving this life to the tune of 150,000 each day and many to most of them likely do not know Jesus!

But Bethel people believe that we can do greater miracles than Jesus did. No, He said we would do greater works than He did, so we need to learn what that means.

It is clear from the time that Jesus lived on this earth, that people often rejected Him and His message. While He fed thousands on several occasions, healed many, and even raised the dead, droves of people may have followed Him around but not for the salvation He spoke of. They wanted to be fed. They wanted to be healed. They wanted to be taken care of.

It was only after Jesus died, rose again, and ascended that His disciples started doing greater works than Jesus did. We know this is true because shortly after Jesus ascended, the Church was born on Pentecost. On that very day, because of one sermon preached by the apostle Peter, 3,000 individuals became Christians. Whoo HOO! Wow, praise the Lord for that miracle! Wow, could you imagine being a preacher, pastor, or evangelist and after you preached a very short sermon, thousands of people believed on the Lord?

The works that Christians are to do have to do with spreading the message of the Gospel! This is the message that grants eternal life and sometimes, we Christians might not explain it that well. Other times, we might explain it so well that every “t” is crossed and every “i” dotted. But that really doesn’t matter because ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who opens eyes or not. It’s not dependent upon us. It’s all God, God, God! He gets the glory! He gets the praise. If anything, we Christians are simply vehicles through which God will work as He chooses but it is GOD who works.

The Hebrews complained even after they saw many miracles by God. People today chase after one supernatural miracle after another because they inadvertently think that it is through one supernatural miracle after another that we come to know God. These people, like the Israelites before them, could not be more wrong.

Miracles do not make mature Christians. I’ll say that again. Miracles do not make mature Christians. We see proof of that with the Hebrews. In spite of the many miracles God did on their behalf, they constantly spit in God’s face. The actual miracles often impressed them as they happened but they soon forgot all about them when their next problem came up.

Too many of today’s Christians are the exact same way. They chase after the supernatural, the miraculous because they think that in those things, they will find God. They don’t find God at all. They are never satisfied. They fail to mature. They live in a constant state of carnality and fleshly desires. They are not well-grounded at all.

Miracles do not make for mature Christians. Do not chase after miracles. Long to know God better. How? Through His Word. Don’t read it to just get through it either. Dwell on it. Let God’s Word speak to your heart. Endeavor to put into practice what God reveals to you through the pages of Holy Writ.

It is not the supernatural, miraculous that brings about maturity, steadfastness, or a heart for God. It is the determined effort to learn about God through His revealed Word. It’s pretty pedestrian compared to all that miraculous mumbo-jumbo. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

This is not to say that God doesn’t work miracles today. He does. In His way, in His timing. The greatest miracle anyone can ever experience is entering into a vital life-changing relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is called salvation and once you have it, you must fan it into a flame. You must apply yourself to learning who God is and what He expects from all of us. It’s not a mystery. It’s in His Word. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Love it. It is through that God will reveal Him to you.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21 ESV)

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, emergent church, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, salvation. Tags: , , .

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