“And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!”Numbers 20:3 NKJV
This had happened before. The Israelites murmured about a lack of water, having no meat to eat, that their conditions in Egypt were better, etc. God had judged them and also demonstrated to them that He was able to provide much more than they can imagine. Yet, they murmured again.
The conditions that they experienced were probably worst than what we can imagine. Yet, the bible did not regard this appropriate for complaint. Perhaps the reason was because they ought to have raised it respectfully in prayer. Interestingly, that was exactly what Moses did when he heard the complaints of the Israelites. And God responded immediately to his prayer.
This is a reminder to us that God is omniscient. He knows our needs even before we raise it to Him. If we murmur instead of pray when we encounter our needs, we are in effect denying His omniscience. Hence, we sin when we murmur. Let us remember that God is sovereign and knows our every need. He delights in us approaching Him like little children, expressing our needs and trusting that He will provide. He is our Heavenly Father, ruler of the universe. Let us turn to Him for all our needs.
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”Num 11:1 NKJV
God knows what He is providing for us and why it is best for us. When we complain against Him, we are in effect saying that God is not doing us good. It is a rebellion against His sovereignty; it is an expression of disrespect.
It is obvious that not all providences will be a delight to our flesh. The Israelites encountered hardship when they started their journey. Let us not belittle this. The conditions of their journey may not be what we can imagine using our modern day minds.
The lesson here is that when we encounter “frowning” providences, we are meant to turn our eyes to God – to look to Him and commune with Him to understand His purpose in designing these things which disturb our peace. It is through these wrestling in prayer that we draw near to Him. It is through these that we may learn to find our source of delight and hope in Him and not in the temporal satisfactions that our heart desire. Then we can say like the Apostle Paul “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:” - Phil 4:11 NKJV.
Are you murmuring against any providences today? May God help us see His merciful hand in all things that He brings to pass. Let us find our source of comfort in His sovereign hand who “..works all things for the good of His people”.