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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Complaining to God

The rabble among (the people freed from Egypt) had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.” ~ Numbers 11:4-6,10-15

The Israelites have a strong craving for some good produce!

Last year I was having some issues with acid reflux so had to cut some things out of my diet. So I can identify with wanting to eat something so badly that you can't. I am sure my family can tell you that I got as whiney about it as the Israelites did.

But they aren't the only ones complaining here. Moses himself does. In what is an epic monologue, Moses really takes God to task. Why did God put him in this position? He never asked for it. He never wanted it.

Why was he saddled with such a bunch of whiney so-in-sos? Moses had to get it out of his system, but then the story goes on to show that once he did, God got him the help he needed. He listened to his complaints but didn't let him just stick with the complaining. God moved Moses to action.

Sometimes we just need to whine. Sometimes we have justifiable complaints. Sometimes we need to ask God why...and not just for the big things.

Maybe we do want to complain to God about the people who work for us, or the family members who annoy us.

Or maybe we need to complain to God that we can't eat our favorite spicy foods or pasta sauces anymore.

God can take the complaining for a little while - maybe for a little longer than our family or friends can.

But once the whining is done, once we've gotten it out of our system, be on the alert...we aren't meant to stay there, and our work, like Moses', will go on.

Thank you God, for giving an ear to my complaints. Give me also the courage to move beyond the complaining to action. Amen.

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