Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. - Numbers 21:7
Dealing with people’s gripes and grumbles can wear you down. Moses and Aaron were constantly dealing with discontented people. The children of Israel became impatient with their leaders and with the direction the Lord was taking them. They had just won a major military victory (Numbers 21:3), and they became self-confident. They blasphemed God, rejected Moses, and complained about the manna, the bread from heaven. “We hate this wretched manna!” they said (Numbers 21:5). By rejecting the food, they were rejecting God’s gracious provision (John 6:32-35, 48-51, 58). God’s response was to send poisonous snakes among the people, and many died (Numbers 21:6). God judged their complaining attitude but also provided a way of escape. God’s remedy was a bronze snake on a pole. All who looked at the bronze snake lived (Numbers 21:8-9).
It’s easy to complain, but it’s wrong. The Bible says we mustn’t do it. Paul warned the Corinthians not to “put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites” (1 Corinthians 10:9). We are to “stay away from complaining and arguing” (Philippians 2:14).
Once we have received eternal life, we don’t stop complaining overnight. Yet complaining has no place in believers’ lives. Complaining is habit-forming and can be self-destructive. We should stop grumbling about our husbands, children, church, or friends. Life may feel like a desert, and we may be hot and tired and anxious for a new place to live and work, but beware of complaining about anything or anyone—it’s like a poisonous snakebite!
For Further Study: Numbers 21:4-9
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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