Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pity Party

And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.  Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down.  So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them.” – Numbers 11:1-4

When you’ve felt how good life can be, it can be easy to feel down and out when the bad times come.  We get so spoiled to God’s loving grace and favor that when He removes it, even for a short time, we want to ball up in the corner, cry, whine, complain, and pitch ourselves a pity party.  At the time, the pity party feels right – it feels deserved.  But sometimes when you look at something from the outside, even a pity party, you can see clearly the problem. 

The children of Israel threw themselves a pity party when they had been released from slavery in Egypt.  Setting out for the Promised Land, they had the cloud of the Lord over them by day, and fire by night.  He was with them, daily, minute-by-minute.  Yet even with Him present, their whining and complaining began quickly!  They didn’t like manna – they wanted meat.  They missed the foods of Egypt.  It was a long walk to the Promised Land.  “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” was the cry from the children of Israel.  And how did God feel about their whining and complaining?

God’s word says that “His anger was kindled” when He heard them. Complaining shows ungratefulness, mistrust, impatience, rebellion, and just the worst your heart can cough up!  God was so angered the fire of Him killed some of them! That’s right! They died due to complaining.

God knows our every need, and “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  He is gracious over all things in the good times and the bad.   When bad times come, we just have to trust Him.  He has said that all things will work to the good of those that love Him, and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  Either we believe it, and look expectantly for the good to arrive, or we don’t, and are found without faith, unpleasing to God.

There’s an old gospel song that says “But when I look around and think things over, all of my good days outweigh my bad days.  I won’t complain.”  If only that song could become our anthem!  If when times get tough with our health, our money, our family, our friends, or just the rut of life, we could only sing this out from the heart, I think we’d all realize that just like the children of Israel…we have nothing to complain about.

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