In a recent worship service, I heard a song which I found grating and insipid and I began to complain about it in my heart.
I thought I was only blocking out the unwanted song………. but then, I knew that the Lord wanted to tell me something—“Listen! You are blocking me out! When you are grumbling you are detouring and avoiding something that I want to tell you to help you grow and change. So, stop complaining about the song and listen up!”
Later, after the service, reflecting, I was reminded of a famous Old Testament passage about grumbling.
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:1-4)
So here they are, in the wilderness, grumbling against Moses. “Boo-hoo! That was some rescue you gave us! We’re gonna die! We wanna go back to Egypt!” We might want to laugh at these silly people. But of course, unfortunately, we have our own ways of grumbling. We each have our own way of going back to Egypt— we are tempted to fall back to how we used to live before we got serious about following our Lord. We end up just like the proverbial washed pig who returns to wallowing in the mud. (see 2 Peter 2:22)
The whining Israelites were growing far away from seeing that God was in sovereign control, was faithful to his irrevocable promises, longed for them to persevere, and would provide the power to do so. Whenever we see these Old Testament examples, they are all in the Bible not to give us historical information, but because God knows that the exact same thing can happen to us!
In my own ideal world, none of the things that make me whine would happen. And in the worship service, after starting to listen, a song did come up which was wonderful —powerful and based on the Scripture: Jesus coming again. What a change of focus! Then, the importance of what I whine about shrinks, and the importance of how Jesus looks at things increases. Jesus, who is coming again, is in control. That gives me a thankful heart; what a wonderful antidote for grumbling!