KEY TEXT: Ex 16:10-12 And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'" ESV
KEY THOT: God hears us not just when we pray but also when we grumble. Unlike prayer which is motivated by faith, grumbling is motivated by unbelief. In the case of Israel in the wilderness, it was triggered by a false nostalgia about the “good old days” in Egypt when they “sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full”. It was a selective memory, for they had forgotten that the “good old days” were days of slavery, not freedom. Nevertheless, God heard Israel’s grumbling against Moses and Aaron and acted on behalf of His appointed leaders, for when we complain against God’s appointed leaders, we are complaining against God: “the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him— what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord."
Grumbling against God’s appointed authority is a bad habit which sometime I fall into. The antidote for this bad habit is practising thanksgiving. Grumbling against God-appointed spiritual leaders is ultimately a grumbling against the Lord who appointed them. There are no “good old days” when things were perfect. As believers, we look forward, not backward—and the best days are yet ahead of us. As children of the Father, we believe that God is sovereign and in control. God is “Our Father in heaven.” As Father, he loves us and works all things together for our good. And as One who is “in heaven” (his throne), He is in absolute control. When we grumble and complain, we are saying that God does not love us and He is not in control.
Whenever I recite the Lord’s Prayer which opens with “Our Father in heaven”, I am declaring that God is willing as Father to bless me, and He has the power as sovereign God to do so. Paul gives us the antidote against grumbling in 1 Thess 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Father in heaven, thank You that You have demonstrated You love us at the Cross by giving of Your Son to us. Grant us a heart of rejoicing and thanksgiving and remove from us the unbelieving attitude of grumbling. Amen.