This is going to be something we all can relate to whether we be stay at home moms, missionary wives, pastor wives or ladies in the work force. Every time I teach this lesson it wakes me up time and time again! I know it is long, but PLEASE do read! I believe it will help us all get a grip on our griping!
So, how many of us can say that our husbands are gripes? Complain about many different things? What about your children? Now, how many of us would admit that we have a problem of griping?
Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
Definition of contention: brawling, always wanting to argue, nag
How does it make your husband/children react?
Signs of a gripe:
1. Always negative on everything.
2. Never satisfied.
3. Always wanting more.
4. It is all about me.
Have you ever wanted to throw your head back & scream “GIVE ME A BREAK!!!” And who could blame us? Life is just so….DAILY! I mean it is the same routine day in and day out. And of course we never have enough hours in the day to get done what we think needs to be done. We think we deserve a lot more pampering, relaxation, excitement and a little bit more variety in our lives. After all, the Jones’ down the street seem to have it made. How come they have all the breaks? Who can we call to complain about? How about an 1-800-Whaa-Whaa-Whaa!! Hotline that we can call anytime of the day or night? Wouldn’t that be WONDERFUL?!?!?
Well, griping comes as naturally as breathing does to some of us. Certainly a lot more natural than praising. And it has been that way down through the centuries. Well, if you are in that mode of “GIVE ME A BREAK!,” then hopefully this lesson will help you get a grip so you can get back to joy!
A Moment for Quiet Reflection:
1. When was the last time you felt like BELLOWING out for a break? Is the thing that was frustrating you something that you find yourself complaining about often?
2. On a scale of one to ten, how “whiny” do you consider yourself to be? How do you think your spouse/children/best friend would rate you on the same scale?
3. What “blessing” do you find it most difficult to be thankful for at time? Is it your job? Your kids? Your pocketbook? How many times a week would you guess it interferes with our experience of joy?
Knowing God’s Heart
And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the Lord burnt among them. And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? v. 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness. And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. v.19 Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; v. 20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt? ~Numbers 11:1-20
On the road to Canaan, the children of Israel had one adventure after another. And they obviously got bored with one of them. What were the Israelites complaining about now?
They were complaining about only having manna
What are you daily complaining about? What are you not satisfied with that God has provided for you?
2. Why were the people so dissatisfied with God’s daily provisions of “bread from heaven?”
They were dissatisfied because they were discontented with or ungrateful for what the Lord had provided them. I mean, come on, they didn’t even have to go out and hunt it down or anything. Just open up the door and there it was!
Aside from the obvious (their boredom with the monotonous diet), the people’s discontentment grew from comparing their current diet with the one they recalled enjoying in the past. When we compare, we have a natural tendency to romanticize whatever we don’t’ have and exaggerate the negatives of what we do have.
3. In verse 5, the people exposed a pretty crazy quirk in their thinking. What was it?
They were remembering every thing from when they were in bondage in Egypt. They thought they had it made in Egypt having all that they wanted to eat, but forgot the price that it cost them. They didn’t appreciate what the Lord had done for them.
The same people who had lived in oppression and slavery at the mercies of their enemies, the Egyptians, are now remembering their captivity almost fondly!!! They were actually pining away for the “good ole days” when they could eat all the garlic and onions they wanted. They remembered the food being “without cost,” but conveniently forgot its enormous price tag. The implication is clear that they think they’d be better off it they’d stayed put in the land from which God had mercifully liberated them.
Can you relate to the Israelites? How do your thoughts and behavior resemble theirs, reflecting on your responses to the specific areas of your life that frustrate you or about which you regularly complain.
Do you often think that way like the children of Israel? Do you often think, “Well, if only I could go back and do this? Or live there?” What about this one, “If my husband or children were like hers.” God loves her and her family more because……and you fill in the blank. Be grateful for where the Lord has brought you from and where He has you now.
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We tend to want to go back and live in the period of when we think we had it the “best” not realizing that everything that the Lord has allowed us to go through in our lives is to build our faith and rely on Him more.
5. How do you suppose God feels about your whining? Why do you think He feels this way?
6. Try filling in the blank in this sentence: If only _______________________, I would be content.
7. How much stock do you put in this belief, now that you’ve stated it clearly? Do you think it is valid? (YOU HAVE TO BE HONEST!) Why or why not?
8. Why was God so angry with His people when they demanded meat instead of manna?
He was angry because they were not grateful.
The manna was a clear sign of God’s faithfulness to his people. He expected them to receive each day’s fresh supply as gracious gift that it was and to use it to build not only their physical strength but also their character. Instead, they insisted that they knew better what would satisfy them, and this heavenly manna certainly wasn’t it! Their response was essentially “Thanks, but no thanks!” And their ingratitude and arrogance angered the Lord.
9. Have you ever given a gift to someone who seemed ungrateful, or who complained it outright? Our children can be especially good at this. How did it make you feel?
10. How do you feel about the way God responded to His people? (verse 19-20) Why?
We might think that the Lord’s dealings with the Israelites harsh. After all, the Israelites had been eating the same thing eery day for what seemed like an eternity, and all they wanted was a bit of variety to spic up the menu!! But when understood in context, God’s decision to practically gag them with the object of their desire is more than just. Year after year he had proved his faithfulness to his people, yet nothing he ever did silenced their perpetual grumbling.
You know, you might get what you want, but not want what you got. We seem to know what is the best for us, and do not want to accept God’s daily provisions or blessings in our lives and gripe about them.
11. What do you think was the Israelites’ most serious offense?
Their most serious offense was their rejection of Him.
The Israelites’ whining and wailing offended God because it reflected their ingratitude and lack of faith. Their pining away for Egypt was certainly offensive because it implied that God didn’t know what he was doing when he led them into the desert and couldn’t be trusted to meet their needs, even though he had been doing so faithfully for years. But verse 20 indicates that their greatest offense was their personal rejection of God. Even though he demonstrated his loving presence day after day, his people did not love him in return.
12. Have you ever had your prayers answered, only to wish you could take them back? If so, you have something else in common with God’s original chosen ones!
We need to practice turning our gripes into praises by changing our focus from what we want, to what we have. For example, instead of wishing your husband was more attentive, or empathetic, (and criticizing him for his shortcomings), be grateful if he’s gentle, or fun-loving. Instead of wishing you’d gotten that raise your deserve, be grateful if you have enough money to pay this month’s electric bill. We need to be content with what we have. 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Making It Real in Your Own Life
1. Begin each day this week with a prayer of gratitude. No matter what is going on in your life, find something to thank God for and make expressing your gratitude your morning habit. Have a “Gratitude Book” to record your praises in.
2. Before you go to sleep each night, add at least on more thing to your gratitude book. Notice the ways in which “book ending” your days with praise helps shift your perspective and increases your joys.