February 24 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” ~Numbers 11:1

The journey begins, and so do the complaints. The people complain about everything, provoking God to anger with their endless carrying on (Num. 11:1). They whine about the food until Moses is worn out and ready to quit! God hears Moses’ cry for help and responds in two ways. First, he gives Moses some much needed help in the form of seventy elders to shoulder some of the leadership responsibility. Second, He gives the people meat but strikes them with sickness! Still they do not stop whining. Next, they question Moses’ leadership. His foreign wife, a beautiful dark-skinned woman from Cush (North Africa), becomes a pretext for questioning Moses’ judgment and integrity. God defends His man with harsh words and severe punishment for his accusers. Moses carries on pointing the people toward the land of promise, but they reply with more moaning, We can’t do this; it’s too hard! The complaints, it would seem, are as numerous as the people themselves.

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul refers to these days in Israel’s history. He warns worshippers not to emulate the complainers of old, or they too will face God’s judgment. God doesn’t like being around complainers and neither do other people. At the heart of the matter are matters of the heart. Ingratitude, selfishness, pride, and unbelief are among the grievous sins of the griper. Ingrates forget about the 10, 000 things for which to give praise and constantly demand more and more and more. Self-centered people are NEVER satisfied even when God gives them what they request (thus the lesson of the quail). Proud people question the leaders God provides. These self-appointed experts on everything have a “knack” for digging up imperfections in others. Doubters cannot trust God with their circumstances, past, present, or future, and so fuss over the details. They never quite learn the lesson that God responds in powerful ways to people of faith (Mark 5:21-43).

Do you complain a lot? The occasional gripe is pretty normal, but grumbling sometimes becomes a way of life. However, habitual complainers don’t always see themselves for what they are. Do you find yourself criticizing the meal, the service, the boss, the pastor, the music, the neighbor, the car, the dog, the house, the weather, and so on? Whether your complaints are a rarity or a regular occurrence, the cure is to get to the heart of the matter. Cultivate gratitude each day. Get the focus off of YOU. Humble yourself (like Jesus) and learn from others. Trust God with what He has given you, and have faith in His promise to provide. Take these words to heart today, prayerfully ponder them, and let them change you from the inside out.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.