The new appliance you just purchased isn’t working. It’s under warranty and you decide to take it back to the store. You of course have a justifiable reason to want your appliance replaced or your money returned. Unfortunately though, the clerk at the complaint counter tells you that the warranty only covers certain things. Your complaint doesn’t fit in to the list of accepted reasons for return. Or maybe they tell you the warranty only covers the parts, but not the labor. Maybe next they tell you have to have them ship it back to the manufacturer and await their decision or maybe in the end you just have to accept what they are saying after you read the warranty yourself. Sometimes we have the right to complain. Yet those earthly complaint departments we visit make us feel like this photo. It wasn’t our fault the appliance didn’t work as advertised. We deserve justice. What do we do?
This type of problem also happens in other areas of our life or our spiritual lives. We are living the way Christ has taught us in His Word. We are kind to others. We pay our tithe. We serve faithfully, etc. Yet, nothing seems to be going right. We have people picking on us for no reason. Our car keeps breaking down. We have a serious illness. Our loved one just died. We feel like we deserve to have a decent life since we are being committed to God. We deserve justice when the enemy comes against us for our faithful stand for the Lord. What do we do?
Over the last few days we have explored the concept of not complaining. So what do we do if we can’t complain? We can always go to God with the right attitude and tell Him how we feel. We are not to go to Him complaining against Him. That is the problem we saw with the Israelites. They were forgetting who God was and complained against Him. Over and over again in Exodus and Numbers we see the Biblical accounts of the Israelites complaining about various subjects against God or God’s chosen leaders.
There were a few godly men in the Bible that did know how to present their cases to God. Job and David both gave us examples of godly men that brought their complaints before the Lord. For example let’s take a look at David. He was chased by the enemy and by friends. He had so many things come against him even when he was living a godly life. Read how David addresses God about his complaints:
Psalm 55: 12 -17
12 Now it is not an enemy who insults me— otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me— otherwise I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! 14 We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God. 15 Let death take them by surprise; let them go down to Sheol alive, because evil is in their homes and within them. 16 But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night, and He hears my voice. 18 Though many are against me, He will redeem me from my battle unharmed. 19 God, the One enthroned from long ago, will hear and will humiliate them Selah because they do not change and do not fear God.
1 I cry aloud to the LORD; I plead aloud to the LORD for mercy. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. 3 Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way. Along this path I travel they have hidden a trap for me. 4 Look to the right and see: no one stands up for me; there is no refuge for me; no one cares about me. 5 I cry to You, LORD; I say, “You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am very weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name. The righteous will gather around me because You deal generously with me.
Do you see the difference between David’s complaints and the Israelites complaints? He is seeking justice, protection and provision from God. He remembers who God is (merciful, eternal, He hears, He is to be feared). He remembers who he is (weak). He puts the blame where it belongs (on the ones who are doing evil). He informs God of the problems and asks God to save him so that he might glorify and praise God. The Israelites blamed God and only wanted God to give them what they wanted so they could be satisfied. When Moses went to God when the people complained he too remembered who God was and asked God to spare the people so that God could be glorified. Even though the Israelites deserved death for their complaining sin, Moses didn’t want God’s name to be slammed by the Egyptians if God killed them there in the desert and didn’t bring them in to the Promised Land.
So the key for us is to remember who God is and who we are, when we tell him our complaints. We need to remember that we are to glorify God. Anything we are asking God to take care of is to glorify Him, not just fulfill our needs and end our complaints. Lastly, be encouraged, like David knew, we too can know that God cares for us and will protect us and take care of us. If we do things right, God will hear our cries and complaints to Him and answer us.