Date: February 23, 2020 ()

Bible Text: Numbers |


The Numbers Problem

The complaining and critical spirit in the book of Numbers is instructive to you and me today. It shows how it can manifest itself and what God thinks of these attitudes and actions.

Verses to Consider in Exodus and Numbers:

Exodus 5:15-18
Exodus 14:10-13
Exodus 15:24
Exodus 16:2
Exodus 17:3
Numbers 14:27
Numbers 16:11
Numbers 17:5

  • The preview
    • The reasons we complain
      • We don't appreciate our provision
      • We don't like our circumstances
    • The reasons we criticize
      • We don't like our station in life
      • We want more prestige
  • The problem
    • God’s attitude
    • God’s actions
    • Man’s reactions
      • Complainers stop hearing the voice of the Lord
      • Complainers stop seeing the blessing of the Lord
      • Criticizers can be stirred by jealousy
      • Criticizers can be bred by privilege
  • The prescription
    • The cure for complaining
      • Learn to be content
      • Learn to trust God's plan
      • Learn to fill your mind with sound, Biblical thoughts
    • The cure for criticism
      • Know the source of your criticism
      • Know the person to go to
    • Final cure for both
      • 2 passages:
        • Ephesians 4:1-32
          • Don't give place to the Devil
          • Learn to speak spiritually
          • Learn how to edify
          • Learn the joy of forgiveness
        • Philippians 2:12-16
          • Learn that the right attitude takes work
          • Learn to rely on God
          • Fill your life and thoughts with the Word of God

“We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth. So, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Numbers chapter 11, that is where we are going to start. We have a lot of scripture we are going to be looking at in Exodus and Numbers. Numbers chapter 11, it says in verse one, "And when the people complained, ... " There is a story of two skeletons that were sitting in an old dusty closet. And they were grumbling about the heat, the dust and even how boring it was because they did not have anything to do there in the closet. And finally one of the skeletons asked the other one, why they were staying there anyways. And the one replied back, I do not know. I would leave her in a minute if I had any guts. Okay. That was just to help you out with complaining about the two skeletons.

But in the Bible, if you have been following along with our Bible reading schedule. Starting in Exodus, you do not see it much in Leviticus, but then it came on with a vengeance in Numbers, and that is, that the children of Israel loved to crab and complain. And I think it is instructive for us. There is another story about a customer who walked into a restaurant and the customer was going to grab a bite to eat. And through the course of the meal, the customer repeatedly was complaining about the air conditioning, just repeatedly. And so they stopped the waiter and said you know what, it is really, really hot. And so the waiter was just super gracious and said, you know what, I will go look at that. And when the waiter came by again they said, you know what it is just way too cold, way too cold. Every time he said, I will go look at that and just see. And this happened probably a half a dozen times. And so there was a guy, another customer sitting a little bit of ways. And so finally he flagged down the waiter and said, you know, I cannot believe how gracious you are. I mean, here, this person is, it is too hot, it is too cold, it is too hot, it is too cold, it is too hot. And all that time you were just so accommodating and so gracious. And the waiter looked at the other customer and said, you know what, it really was easy because we do not even have air conditioning here. So you know, some people always have something to crab and complain about. It does not matter. You will find something. And even this morning I guarantee it, you will find something to complain about.

And after, I did not work it out, but after that testimony, I do not see how you can complain about anything. All right, if somebody who was born in a jungle can stand up and just thank the Lord for what he has done in his life, maybe you can. All right, maybe it is not so bad after all. But in numbers chapter 11, we see the people complained and it displeased the Lord. And just so you know, the 'it' is referring to the complaining. It is not referring to something else. It is referring to the complaining. C.H. Spurgeon said this, "We need not sow thistles and brambles, they come up naturally enough because they are indigenous to the earth. So we need not teach men to complain. They complain fast enough without any education. And I think all of us can say amen to that. We are going to look as we start at a number of verses just to help out and understanding what God thinks about complaining and the children of Israel, how they had a problem with it.

So we are going to start in Exodus before we get into our outline this morning. Exodus chapter five. So in Exodus, the book of Exodus obviously is about the exodus of the children of Israel. In chapter one, two, three and four, it introduces the man named Moses who is going to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. And in chapter five, he is on the scene and he goes in and he talks to Pharaoh. And in verse one he goes right away and he says, "let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness." And Pharaoh right away says, what? Who is God, who is that, that Iam going to obey him. "I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." So what happens is Pharaoh gets irritated. He gets mad at the children of Israel and he specifically gets mad at Moses and Aaron because they are coming in saying, let my people go. And that was his workforce.

If you know anything about the history of Egypt, that was his workforce. They had taken them and put them into slavery, into bondage, and they were their workers. So what he does, in verse 10, the taskmaskers of the people went out and said, I am not going to give you straw, but you are going to make the same amount and you are going to have the same amount of work, but now I am not going to give you the straw. Verse 11, "Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw." Alright? So then, they go to the task masters in verse 14, "... Wherefore have you not fulfilled your task .."or the taskmasters come and say, Hey, you guys are backing off here. Verse 15, "Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten..." All right, look at verse 17, "But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now, and work;" Verse 19, "And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task. And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us."

So guess what they did? They started crabbing, right at the beginning. So here God is in the process of working to deliver them. And yes, it got a little harder, but guess what they start doing? They crab. Well, they did go crab to Pharaoh, but it was not Moses and Aaron's fault. Just so you know, it was not Moses and Aaron's fault. So we see that is kind of the start. It is inbred into them. Then we go to Exodus chapter 14, so in Exodus chapter 14, the children of Israel now are delivered. They are out of Egypt. God delivered them miraculously with the 10 plagues. They have escaped and they come up to the Red Sea. Verse 10, "And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?

You just got delivered! You just got delivered and you can not stop crabbing. All right. And here they are complaining in chapter 14, so God delivers them. He just parts the Red Sea and lets them walk across on dry ground, and buries all the enemy in the Red Sea. So he does that and in chapter 15, they are singing a song, at the beginning of chapter 15, but then in verse 22, it says, "So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of, Shur;" This is what I want you to see, Okay, look at the end of verse 22. "And they went (how many?) three days..." So they just had the Red Sea parted walking across on dry land. The enemy is drowned. Guess what, it took them three days to forget it because look at verse 23. "And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore, the name of it was called Marah. And the people (what is the next word?) murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? All right, so there is chapter 15. Chapter 16 of Exodus, it says, "And they took their journey from Elim,..." And in verse two, "And the whole congregation of the children of Israel, (what's the word?) murmured..." That word is complained "against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:" All right? And they are saying, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Then in verse seven, "And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord. And what are we, that you murmur against us?" Look at chapter 17, And all the congregation, they are traveling again, they are wandering. Look at verse two, "Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide you with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses..." That is Exodus 17.

Then we go to Numbers and we read a chapter 11 "And the people complained....and the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched." We can go to chapter 14. So this is the story of the kids who grow up. We sing a song 'Twelve Men Went to Spy on Canaan, ten were bad and two were good.' Okay? So that is the story. In chapter 13 and chapter 14, the spies are coming back to report. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb are saying, Hey, we should take this land. But the majority of them say, in verse 33 of chapter 13, "And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." Which I do not know how in the world they saw themselves as grasshoppers. That is kind of weird. I do not know how in the world that happened. But then in verse one, "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel (here's the word) murmured against Moses and against Aaron..." You see that in chapter 14 in verse 27, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me." And that is God talking. So just remember when you are murmuring and complaining and you are crabbing, it is going straight passed the ears of who you are going to, and it is going to the Lord. That is according to this passage. It went straight to God. He heard it. Verse 29, "Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me."

So we go to Numbers 16, there is a passage in Numbers 16 it says this is the sons of Korah. And in verse two, "And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." If you go down just a little bit later in verse 11, "For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye (what's the word) murmur against him." Go to later in the text in verse 41, "But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." So God punishes, their complaining spirit and they are still complaining. It is unbelievable. You still have not figured it out. Chapter 17, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children, and take of every one of them a rod..." And then in verse five it says, "And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you."

So this morning we want to look at this idea of murmuring and complaining and criticizing. And so I entitle it, 'Stop Complaining and Stop Criticizing.' And the reason is that God is not really in tune with you when you do that. And some of you, you do not just complain, you criticize everybody. There is nobody better in this church than you. And just so you know, you do not compare anything to God. And what God would like you to do is maybe with as much vengeance as you turn your criticism to everybody else, he would like you to turn it on yourself. And what you will find is that God will give you a list so big of the things that are so wrong in your own life, that you will stop criticizing. And God places people in authority. But he also places people in the body of Christ, and he places them there because he appreciates them and he wants them to be part of his body. Maybe we should just stop complaining and stop criticizing, and maybe that would help us out. And so this morning we want to think of that idea and see what God can instruct us and help us in regards to this. Heavenly Father I pray that you would bless this morning as we think of this idea of complaining and criticizing. Help us Lord, to understand that we will give an account for our words. And Lord with the children of Israel over and over we see it in Exodus and we see it in Numbers how many times that you bring it up and you bring it up. And I think it is because Lord, it is natural for us, as Spurgeon said, as it is indigenous to the earth for brambles and thorns and thistles to be there. So it is with man to run his mouth and complaining and to be critical. And I pray, Lord, that you would help us as we look at scripture, that you would straighten us out through your word. Lord as always, I ask for you to do that which I cannot do, and that is speak to hearts. We ask and claim your power in Jesus name. Amen.

So first of all, we are going to look at the problem, and I have two things here. We have the reason we complain and the reason we criticize. And we see it kind of in the text. And hopefully as you were reading through the Scriptures in Exodus and especially in Numbers over the last few days, those stories will be in your mind. I know I have read them through and then I read them through again a couple of times just to get some instruction from the Lord. So what is the problem? What is the reason we complain? Well, number one, we do not like our provision. That is why we complain. Did you notice that with the children of Israel, they did not like that God provided manna. They didn't. At one time, they are like, it is just manna. You know, I want some meat. And so sometimes we do not like our provision. There was a funny story about an older gentleman and he could not write that well. And so he walked into a post office and there was a younger man that was there. And this younger man and he got talking real quickly. And he thought, you know what, this young man could probably help me. So he said, Hey, I can not write very well and I need to send this out. I want to send a postcard to one of my friends, can you help me out. And so this young man was like, oh, sure. And so, this older guy, he could barely write anything and could not write very legibly. So the young man sat there and he wrote out his postcard. He addressed it. He put the stamp on there and just really helped the older guy out. And then right at the end, the older gentleman looked at him and said, Hey, could you add a P.S. there at the bottom? He is like, oh yeah, what do you want me to write? And he said, just put P.S., Please excuse the sloppy handwriting.

You know what? Sometimes it does not matter what somebody does for you before you, you can still complain about it. It is amazing. Someone could cook you a meal and you are like, Hey, I think that is a little salty. Then cook it yourself. You know? I just thought it is amazing that someone can make something for us and drop it off, And we say you know what, could it be a little sooner, like, you know, actually it is not going to be alright. Thank you. All right. It will be never, now. Okay. It is just amazing that we do not like the provision and that is the way we get some of us. God has provided and He promises this as a Christian. He said, I will supply your needs and you have been crabbing about it. You are like the children of Israel. You do not like the car, you want a newer one, all right? You want this or you want that and what you are actually doing is crabbing to God. It is going straight to him because God says, Hey, I will supply your needs. So what is one of the reasons we complain? We do not like our provision.

The second reason we complain is we do not like our circumstances. The children of Israel maybe they did not like it, but actually in the Providence of God, I have to settle in and say, Hey, God has meant this for me. I was telling my class today, and I was writing a note yesterday because a man that I went to school with for a little bit and then I think he ended up going to public school for a little bit. But a man that I grew up with and he is 48 years old. And this past weekend he died at 48 years old. He has got a wife, he has got a daughter, he is a really good man. I would go back sometimes and preach and we would sit and talk. And I just loved it. He was a Marine. He was just a tough guy. And then he spent, it reminded me of what we do, he would spend a lot of his weekends helping. Where I grew up, they have a program that help young men that do not have dads. When I was growing up, they called it Character Builders. So he would come in and he would spend his weekends doing that. And now he is in heaven. And, so I was writing a note and wanted to send his wife a book just to encourage her and just say, you can trust God. Because you know, that is a hard circumstance. It is. I am not going to tell her that is an easy circumstance. But this is what I can tell you, you can trust God though. God puts us in circumstances. He is not unaware of what is going on in your life. And maybe one of the things is He wants you to trust Him and to control your tongue. Learn to control it, learn to shut it down. God's brought that into your life for a reason. So what is the problem? The reason we complain, we do not like our provision. We do not like our circumstances.

What is the reason we criticize specifically, in Numbers, if you are there in Numbers chapter 12 in verse one, two and three. "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses..." Okay? And look at verse two, "And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it." Notice again, the Lord heard it. He hears what you are saying. The Lord is aware of your criticizing. The reason sometimes we criticize is we do not like our station in life. What they were saying is how come Moses got that and I did not get it? How come Moses gets that privilege and I do not get it? Maybe it is right there. You just answered it because I do not think you could handle it. Maybe God knows that, maybe He is a little smarter. And also God raises people up and he puts him down. What does the book of Proverbs say? The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. Hey, he can move people up, He can move people down, it is up to Him. Maybe just be grateful for your station in life. But here Miriam and Aaron, and we will see in just a moment, God really did not appreciate the criticism. So we do not like our station in life.

And then Numbers chapter 16 this is Korah, and these are the sons of Levi. And the sons of Levi what did they want? So why do you criticize? Well, some Miriam and Aaron, they did not like their station in life. When it came to Korah, they wanted more prestige. If you know anything, if you study a little bit about the sons of Korah, this was one of the sons of Levi. So they were a privileged tribe. They already were a privileged tribe, but it was not enough. And that is what sometimes, we criticize because we are looking over there and they are like, well, they get to do that and I don't. That is sometimes why we criticize and maybe Christ will turn to you. Remember Peter was talking to Christ towards the end of his life. I think it was John 21, and Peter turns and he says, Hey, so, so is this going to happen? Pastor Armacost used it on Thursday night and Christ turned to Peter and says, what is that to thee. In other words, mind your own business. Take care of yourself. Sometimes they are always worried about what everybody else is doing, what everybody else is getting. Maybe just shut it down a little bit. Maybe look at yourself. So the problem, reasons we complain, and the reason we criticize.

Secondly, what is the product? So I am going to look at God's attitude towards complaining. Notice in Numbers, chapter 11 and verse one. "And when the people complained (right away, what do we see?) it displeased the Lord..." So what is the product? God's attitude towards complaining is the anger of the Lord is kindled when we complain about his provision in our lives. Notice what it says there. "...and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them..." Most believe that this was literal fire. It was not just a picture. Most believed this was literal fire that went through the camp. And why do most believe that? Because in verse two, "the people cried" "Moses prayed" "and the fire"was notice the terminology it "was quenched." So it seems to indicate that there was some type of fire and it was consuming people. It was taking them out. So what does that tell you when you start running your mouth and complaining about how God's provided for you? It goes straight to God and it displeases him. And I am not saying that God today is going to send fire, but what can happen maybe is all of a sudden things, provisions in your life starts getting consumed. You ever had that? I have had that. I have had that happen because I am not grateful for what God has given me and all of a sudden it is gone. You have had it too. I believe maybe God is trying to get ahold of us and telling us, hey, you are making me angry. You are making me angry. The fire of the Lord is coming through and we will see there is a way to stop it. So how is it towards criticism? What is God's attitude towards criticism? Did you see in Numbers 16, the judgment of the Lord comes upon these guys. Moses was very wroth, that is found in verse 15. And then he tells him in verse 16, "And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the Lord, thou, and they and Aaron tomorrow."

And so they come. And then verse 21 God says to Moses and unto Aaron, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may consume them." And so He comes and, and He opens up the earth. All right. Moses actually, and this is just an interesting passage because Moses has given insight into it. And this does not happen all the time, but this is a different era. They do not have the written word of God. So God reveals this to Moses and Moses, it is really interesting because he says, you know what? This is what I think I am going to do. It is like he is kind of thinking about it. Moses comes up and says, you know Korah, this is what I am thinking. If you just die like a normal death, you just fall over from cancer or something like that, then hey, you know what? You can be the boss. All right. Which is kind of odd because you actually would not be the boss because you are dead, but you know what? If you just die a normal death, then you know to the people here, maybe you have got a point. But let me think here. Okay, so if the earth opens up and you get swallowed up... It is almost like he just comes up with something. Well, that is exactly what God did--opened up the earth. All of a sudden, umph, they are gone. Because notice what it says in verse 31, "And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking..." So here, Moses and he could have belabored it because as soon as he was done talking, it was on. As soon as he got done talking, those guys should have said, keep talking Moses please keep talking a while. They would have had another second of life. But as soon as he got done speaking "that the ground clave, asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation."

Yeah, that would make you stop criticizing, maybe. Except they did not because then a little bit later, look at verse 41, "But on the morrow all the congregation" start crabbing again. I am telling you, you may say this and this is the danger of complaining and critical spirit. You will get convicted of it, but if you do not take drastic measures, tomorrow you are going to crab again. That is the danger of this spirit, it seems to just fester and take a hold of us and it does not matter. I mean somebody was literally swallowed by the earth and it still did not stop my yapper. That is the way with some of you sitting here. I mean God can come down with fire from heaven and zap somebody that is sitting down here. But you say you know what, I think that somebody did that. You know what, that is not for real, and also look at the pew is chard. Now we are going to have to pay for that. He is going to be grabbing and he is going to want more offerings. I am telling you, it does not matter what happens, we seem to always be able to complain and crab and criticize. So what is God's attitude towards complaining? The anger of the Lord is kindled. What is towards criticizing, the judgment of the Lord will be brought on your life.

And notice in the story of Korah who else was affected by your mouth,--his family. Be very careful, mom and dad. When this afternoon you serve up your roast beef and the pastor. Be very careful as your kids are there listening. And it may not be that the earth swallows them up, but it could be that the world swallows them up. And you are wondering why the things of God just do not seem to be important to them, because the world swallowed them up. The world has got them. Why, because in your home, a critical spirit is very evident and it affects. So God's attitude. You see that God's actions, we already kind of saw that. As far as his actions, complaining and criticizing is ultimately dealt with with the loss of privilege and a loss of life. We are there in Numbers 16, go to Numbers 14, remember they were complaining about going into the promised land. So in Numbers 14 notice in verse 26, "And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me." Do you think he is irritated at murmuring? Yeah, three times in one verse. "Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as you have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number..." Spurgeon said this and I thought it was really good. He said, "every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful and every time we complain we lose a blessing."

That is what I think happens many times to us because here God has a whole land for them. Those that have studied this biblically, the promised land, I do not think it is heaven. There is a rest. In Hebrews chapter three and four, it gives us a little understanding and it gives us a little talk about the rest. And actually I think there is a couple of different rests. I think there is a rest in salvation. I think there is a rest here on this earth that you can have, but then there is an eternal, a permanent rest in heaven. Okay. But the promised land is a little bit different because what we sometimes call it 'the land of rest.' But the promised land was a picture I believe, of the abundant life. And the reason I say that is because Joshua had to go take that land. He had to conquer that land. He had to fight for that land. And so it is a picture of us crossing in to an abundant life. And here on this life, guess what we have to do often? We do have to fight. You have to fight your flesh. You have to fight some enemies here on this earth. So what God was wanting though is to give them that abundant land. A land that flowed with milk and honey, but ---oh, there are giants there. I have to work, oh my word. That is it, I am not doing that. So guess what? God says, go ahead wander in the wilderness. I heard you. I heard your murmuring. Normally murmuring and criticizing God in the Bible gives you loss of privilege. That is what happens. You lose privilege. That is what complaining does, in Exodus we can also see that.

So let me give you just a couple of man's reactions though. Alright, through studying these passages, as I was looking at them, I came up with some of man's reactions. In Exodus chapter six, it says, I will bring you into the land concerning that which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. And I will give it to you for an heritage. I am the Lord. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit and for cruel bondage. So here God is speaking and then He is speaking through Moses. And this is a product in man's life, a product of complaining and criticizing. The complainer stops hearing the voice of the Lord. According to Exodus, guess what they stopped hearing? God was speaking to them and speaking to Moses and it says, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, but they hearkened not, and this is what will happen. Your critical complaining spirit will eventually have you stop hearing the voice of God. You are not going to hear it.

Secondly, what is another product to man? Complainers stop seeing the blessing of the Lord, that is Exodus 14. Israel saw that great work. This is Exodus 14:31, "And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses." And in Exodus 15:22, "So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water." And guess what? Three days after being delivered from their enemy that had them in bondage for over 430 years. Guess what? The Israelites, it took them three days after deliverance to start crabbing and complaining. So complainers stop hearing the voice of the Lord. Complainers stopped seeing the blessing of the Lord. And some of you, you need to stop complaining and criticizing and you need to stop and look back and see God's good hand in your life. What has he given you?

If in this life I get nothing else. I have salvation and that is eternal. One pastor, I can remember growing up hearing some pastors come through and they would say, as much as the devil can bring it on in this life, that is it. That is all he has got. That is all he has got. Hey, guess what? For as much as you got devil, you only have this life. Because for eternity, I am set. Eternal life is set in heaven. So guess what? Complainers they stop hearing the voice of the Lord. They stopped seeing the blessing of the Lord. And I am trying to tie this to scripture. For those of you that are criticizers, you are already saying it is not in the Bible. That is why I am putting these verses down and you can get the outline and I have a whole bunch of scriptures there. I would challenge you to read Numbers again, because the Bible does not have anything to good to say about a complainer and a critical spirit.

Thirdly, criticizers normally are stirred by jealousy. That is found in Numbers 12, remember Miriam and Aaron? Hey, how come you did that, a jealous spirit, it is a wrong spirit. And then the other reaction that I saw as far as a product that is a result of this, so we see God's actions. All right, we see His attitude, and He does not appreciate complainer's and criticizers.There is a product, there is a result in your life when you allow this. You stop hearing the voice of the Lord. You stop seeing the blessing of the Lord. You start looking around and you are jealous and you are envious of everybody else that gets some privilege. But then also in Numbers chapter 16, study the life of Korah. Guess what Korah's job was? His family, they split the Levites up, and their job was to take care of the temple furniture. Can you imagine the privilege? I mean, all these other people they wish that they could kind of see, but here was his family. They were able to walk in and they could see the lampstand, they could see the table of showbread. They got to carry these things. The mercy seat, it had special instructions. I believe that they would take the curtain and cover it around that mercy seat and then they would carry it. I mean, that was their privilege and it taught me something. Criticizers can be bred by privilege. Did you know that? Some of you, when you get a little extra, have you ever seen that? I have seen that in life. Somebody gets a little extra privilege and guess what? They think they are special. That is what the Korathites had. The sons of Korah, guess what? They had extra privilege. And sometimes if you are not careful, if you are not careful, and I see that with young people that grow up here. Some of you young people that grow up here, you have the most critical complaining spirits that I have ever met in my life. It is unbelievable. Alright? What you get to grow up with, what you get to experience. Let me throw you in a jungle in Cambodia, let me throw you there, but you get it all on a red carpet paved for you. I do not think they care for me. Those lunches, I do not know about that. You know what I can remember my mom making me eat potted meat. Now I am telling you right there, some of you need to try that sometime. And no matter what you put on your sandwich, you will be happy. All right? So it did, it worked. It made me thankful. Potted meat, I am telling you, man, you gave got to try that. Or those little Vienna sausages. Whoa. Oh my word. I have no idea, that literally is mystery meat. All right? It really is. Nobody knows. I do not even think the makers know what is in it. All right. It is a mystery.

You know we just seem to crab and complain about a whole lot of things. As I read Numbers 16, and you read about the privilege that they had, sometimes privilege ain't always good. Because sometimes it can breed. It can breed a critical spirit like, hey, look at him. Can you imagine, did read that in Numbers 16:2, "And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel..." That means they were mixing them with all the people and it said, "...two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown." Wow. I mean they had the cloth, they had the duds, they were men of renown. You know what, you men of renown, you got swallowed by the earth. Losers. I am telling you, they are so sorry. You are coming up, hey, who he is that? You know who he is, that is God's man. And guess what we know because of Christ teaching. Moses was the meekest man on this earth. That was, that was Christ that said that. So that is what we have to understand when it comes to criticizing, it can be bred by privilege.

So what is the prescription? Let's just finish with that. We have a number of points that I want to finish up and try to get these done, because this really was a lot of fun studying it. All right? Because I think it is in all of us, this idea of complaining and criticizing and here in the book of Numbers and the book of Exodus, it is there. What is scripture there for? All scripture is given by inspiration of God and it is profitable. So guess what? Let's go to school and learn God rid me of a complaining, critical spirit. Rid me of that. So how do I get rid of it? The cure for complaining, -- a couple of things under that. Learn to be content with what God gave you. Philippians 4:11 tells me this, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." So if God gives me a lot, I am content. If God gives me a little, I am content. That is what you have do. And in life, guess what you are going to have, those of you that are older, you know that sometimes it seems like you have a lot and sometimes you do not. And sometimes it is of your own doing, but really in whatsoever state you are in, be content. Learn to be content and that will stop your complaining.

Secondly, learn to trust God's plan. Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible. "And we know that all things work together for good..." And it works together for good, for who? It gives us a qualifier in there. Sometimes guess what? Maybe instead of complaining you just need to get right because God is trying to get a hold of you and get your attention. But in Romans 8:28, let me find it real fast because at the end of the verse, it gives you the qualifier. Romans 8:28 it says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." So if you love God and you are doing His purpose, you can trust Him. Now you can trust Him even if not, because he may be sending something in your life to chasten you. And He may be getting a hold of you and saying, hey, guess what come back to me. But you can trust in God's plan.

First Thessalonians says this also in chapter five. So what is the cure for complaining? Learn to be content, learn to trust in God's plan. Also, learn to fill your mind with sound biblical thoughts. Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I do not get into crabbing and gossip and I think that our church knows that. Our church knows that. That is also, it is a reputation I am getting among pastors. They are like, Oh, you do not get into that. No, I don't. I call it gossip. I call it gossip and actually the Bible does not like it. So I do not really care what this church or that church is doing. You know I will preach the word and I am going to stand. I will do that. But really what that church over there is doing... I mean, what about this? I do not know but I have got enough to do. I have got enough to do and if you want to join that church or whatever, all right, be the righteous dude over there, go ahead. But this is what I know. I am going to think on good things. I am going to think, so is there a solution? Why are you bringing this to me? Why are you bringing this to me? Because we are going to go there and resolve the situation. If it is just for information, that means it is gossip. So shut it down. Shut it down. If you are not part of the solution, then shut it down. Think on good things. Think on wholesome things and godly things.

So what is the cure for criticizing? The cure for criticizing is found in James chapter four. Know the source of your criticism. James 4:1 "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not." But what is he saying? He is saying, "Ye ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." You know what the source of almost all critical spirit is? The flesh! And the flesh profiteth nothing, it does not do any good. The source of fighting and divisions is the flesh. So keep the flesh out of our church, and keep the flesh at bay in your life. The cure for criticizing is...know the source and that is the flesh, and know the person to go to. You know what you find with Moses all the time. They come to him and who does he go to? He does not say, I need to come up with a board and we are all going to sit down to just kind of discuss some things, and I need some... You know what, right away you can even see it sometimes when the people come, he is on his knees crying out to God. Go to the person that can solve the problem. It is God. God can solve the problem.

Two last passages and we will be done. Ephesians chapter four and Philippians chapter two and we will be done. Thanks for your patience. Ephesians four gives us a whole list. Remember the apostle Paul in his normal way of doing things has a number of chapters or doctrines. So in Ephesians one, two and three, the lesson for us is in Christ. That is Ephesians--in Christ. But then he turns in chapter 4:1, he tells us to now worry about your walk. Looking at Ephesians 4:27-30 so he says, "Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good...Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,..And grieve, not the Holy Spirit..." Then verse 31, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another..." So Ephesians gives us a couple of ideas to help us as a cure for a complaining critical spirit. One don't give place to the devil. Do not let him in. Do not let him in. Do not give place to the devil. Then he tells us learn to speak spiritually. Did you see what he is saying in the passage? Let no corrupt communication... But then he says, learn how to edify. Get the Holy Spirit. Grieve, not the Holy Spirit. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor be put away. So that means there is some good speech that needs to come in place. So do not give place to the devil, and learn how to speak spiritually, and then learn the joy of forgiveness. That is verse 32, learn how to forgive somebody. Somebody in authority did you wrong? Learn to forgive them. You will find that forgiveness releases a burden that you will find you are just carrying around this burden, and it is heavy, and it bears you down. And learning to just forgive. You know what people are going to do. They are going to let you down. They are going to make mistakes. You know why? Because they are like you. And so do you, and do you appreciate people forgiving you. I am glad Christ did. So learn forgiveness.

Then in Philippians chapter two we give a couple other helps. Philippians chapter two look at verse 12 says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life;..." So it gives us a couple more tips for a cure. In Ephesians, do not give place to the devil, learn to speak spiritually, learn the joy of forgiveness. In Philippians, realize the right attitude takes work. Did you notice what it says? Work out your own salvation. That is not talking about works salvation. It is saying that once you get saved, there is a job to do and you are going to have to work at it. I am not confused about my theology. It is not saying that I have got to work to get saved, but what it is saying is in this life, my sanctification has just started. So let God do his work and it will take work to shut your mouth down. Because this yapper, whew, it loves to yap doesn't it? That is why social media is ridiculous. This is what maybe you should do, maybe put something in place even in social media before you just type, wait a day. Maybe have somebody else read it and say, wow, you are stupid, that is ridiculous. That is mean, you do not do that. You know what? Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. That is it. That is a good one. Maybe no murmuring and complaining. So realize the right attitude will take work. Then learn to rely on God. Notice what it says for it is God, which worketh in you. You can not do it on your own. You need God's help. You need God's help and that is what it takes for us. It is coming humbly before God and saying, God, you know what, my mouth, man, it runs. My heart, it is deceitful above all things. Guess what I need God, I need your help. Learn to rely on God.

And then it gives us a clue in verse 16, "Holding forth the word of life;..." Fill your life and thoughts with the word of God. Fill it with God. Fill it with good. There's a funny story about a farmer. The farmer lived by a pond and he could not sleep at night. There were these frogs and they just kept him up all night. So he had an idea. So he went into town and he talked to the local restaurant owner. He was like, Hey, can we make a deal because I can not sleep at night and there are these frogs. Do you want some frog legs? Oh yeah. He said like, I can do that. So he said, alright, there is at least a thousand frogs. And he goes, you know what, let's just start with a hundred. And so we will just start with that. You bring those hundred in and we will work from there. So we made a deal with a price and all that. And about a week later he came in all sheepish, and he had two. The restaurant owner was like, what? He goes, yeah, I am sorry. He goes, there was only two, he said, but really they made a lot of noise. They really did. They were really, really loud. You know what, it was not that bad was it? There was two frogs, but he thought there was a thousand and I can not sleep. I do not know what was going on in your head, but you had some frogs in your head or something. Alright, it is chirping somewhere, but it was not as bad as you thought.

And you know what? I think that is what you will find, if you start getting a godly spirit, and you start filling your mind with God's word, and you start understanding that it is going to take some work. And maybe I should work at letting no corrupt communication come out. I am going to learn to forgive people. And I am going to learn to edify people. You know what you will find? Wow. It is bright outside. It literally is, man, it is warm out today. It is February and it is warm. But you know what? Some of you are like, you know what, yeah, but snow is coming. I actually said that today. Alright. But you know what that means, I can't enjoy today? Like, yeah, well, you better be ready. Yeah, you better. It is just somebody always has a cloud. Oh, he has got a cloud over it. Why can't we be just like Paul, who is sitting in prison writing the book of Philippians. You know what the book of Philippians says, over and over, rejoice. Rejoice evermore. Why? Because with Christ, I can trust in him.


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