Do any of you make New Year’s Resolutions? While I don’t, I do find the beginning of the new year to be a good time for self-examination, for taking inventory of my gains and losses, for making “certain about His calling” (2 Peter 1:10) on my life, and for making corrections. One of the things I will be most painfully aware this year of is my continuing penchant for complaining.
There’s a startling episode in Israel’s journey through the Wilderness where they complained about the “manna” God gave them to eat. They started craving meat (Nu. 11:4). God was angry (Nu. 11:33). And His response to their complaint of a meatless diet may be the source of the unbiblical phrase “Be careful what you ask for.” Sending enough flocks of quail to over-satiate, they must have said ‘I hope I never eat another quail as long as I live.' (More complaining.) The end of this story is not pretty—as “the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people” many were killed by a deadly plague (Nu. 11:33).
It is all too easy for me to excuse my complaining as a natural human tendency. But God hates it. It is worse than a rejection of His provision—it is a flat-out rejection of Him (Nu. 11:20; 14:27). We should pay close attention to Paul’s warning: “All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin” (1 Cor. 10:11-12 NLT).