In these passages, as the Israelites approached the Promised Land, they began to complain. As punishment for the lack of faith, God condemned them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

The people complained about their hardships, lack of meat, being stuck in the wilderness, facing giants, and wishing to return to Egypt. They complained about Moses’ and Aaron’s authority and leadership, about the lack of water, and thinking that God and Moses brought them into the wilderness.

Those who travel, move, or face new challenges know what it is to be uprooted. Life is full of changes, and few things remain stable. The Israelites were constantly moving through the wilderness. They were only able to handle change because God’s presence in the Tabernacle was always with them. For us, stability does not mean lack of change, but moving with God in every circumstance.

Like the Israelites, many times we too, complain about our problems instead of praying to God about them. We are greedy for more – power, authority, possessions, position, status, and things others have that we don’t have. We rebel against God’s leaders and fail to trust in God’s promises. We blame others for our troubles and refuse to believe that God will provide as he has promised.

Dissatisfaction comes when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don’t have.

Don’t let your unfulfilled desires cause you to forget God’s gifts of life, family, food, health, work, friends, faithfulness, and other blessings.

It’s helpful to think about what occupies our attention most of the time.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Are you grateful for what God has given you or are you always thinking about what you would like to have?
  2. What occupies your attention most of the time? 
  3. Do you find yourself complaining or do you have an attitude of gratitude?
  4. The next time you find yourself complaining to others, take your problems to God who can do something about them.