Life is not perfect, nor are circumstances on earth going to be paradise.
People tend to think they deserve to be treated better than they are or to have more than they do. When expectations are not satisfied, the human tendency is to gripe and complain.
Our text refers to when the Israelites were in the desert after leaving Egypt. It was a difficult time, but complaining only made it much worse. Moses wrote, “With most of them God was not well pleased” (1 Cor 10:5). Of almost a million men, only two—-Joshua and Caleb—-survived the forty years in the desert to enter Canaan.
In spite of daily miracles providing their essential needs, the Israelites refused to be thankful, content, or obedient. For this reason, they became “disqualified” (1 Cor 9:24, 27) from being useful for God’s purposes. It appears that the Corinthians followed their poor example.
The command was to “stop complaining,” which means to stop “murmuring, griping, groaning, whining, or complaining.” This refers to the constant carping and malcontent of self–pitying “victims” on whom God had laid too difficult a burden. The Israelites felt that God had been unfair to them. They dreamed of their life of entitlements as slaves.
God was so displeased with their griping that he sent a plague, which killed 14,700 people (Num 16:49). Do you think God has changed His attitude?
If we believe that God providentially arranges the circumstances of our lives, then we must learn contentment, thankfulness, and wisdom to let Him use our lives as He sees fit. He makes no mistakes.
If the mouth expresses what fills our heart (“For whatever is in your heart determines what you say”; Matt 12:34NLT), then griping reveals that the heart is filled with dissatisfaction and distrust. This is a sin He does not take lightly. Can you thank the Lord for your trials and blessings?
“When I think of how Your heart must ache when You hear the griping and complaining of Your children, I want to be one voice that says ‘Thank You, Lord,’ for everything in life. May my heart be a refreshing encouragement to You.”