Posts Tagged ‘Israelites’

The Greek word translated “complainer” means literally “one who is discontented with his lot in life.” It is akin to the word grumbler. Complaining is certainly not a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and, in fact, is detrimental to the peace, joy, and patience that come from the Spirit. For the Christian, complaining is destructive and debilitating personally and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult. Who, for instance, would be attracted to a religion whose adherents are dissatisfied with life and who continually grumble and complain?

The first complainer was Adam who, after he and Eve disobeyed, complained to God that “the woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). The son of Adam, called Cain, also complained, although undoubtedly within himself (Genesis 4:6). We also know of the complaints made by Moses, when he met God at the burning bush (Exodus 3–4). Also, Moses cried to the Lord repeatedly for deliverance from the Israelites’ grumbling and idolatry (Exodus 17:4; 32:31-32). We also know of the complaints that David offered up to the Lord in the Psalms (Psalm 2:1; 12:1-2; 22:1) and the complaints made by the prophets concerning the idolatry of the Jewish nation. However, the book of Job offers the most in the way of complaints toward God, and yet Job did not sin (Job 1:22, 2:10). That is not to say that the aforementioned people never sinned in voicing their complaints to God, but Job was a man who was able to sanctify his complaints, and that took humility.

Clearly, as believers we are challenged not to grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 4:9); rather, we are to love one another deeply so that we may become “blameless and pure” in God’s eyes. If we grumble and complain, it shows how worldly we still are (James 4:1-3). A complaining spirit leads to fighting and quarrelling because complaints come from unfulfilled desires, which lead to envy and strife. Was that not at the root of the problem with the sons of Israel, when they chose to dispose of their brother Joseph, because of his dream (Genesis 37:3)?

Finally, while it is not wrong to complain to God, it is wrong to complain about God. Those that did so met the anger of the Lord, as was the case of Moses’ sister Miriam (Numbers 12) and Korah and Dathan (Numbers 16). But note that they spoke against God’s servant and, in doing so, spoke against God Himself. If we must complain, let it be to Him about our own sinfulness so that He will forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9) and put within us a new heart, one that rejoices rather than complains.

They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.—Psalm 78:11

It’s amazing how many times God’s people were blamed with “forgetting” the Lord and all he had done for them. Deuteronomy 32:18 says, “You forgot the God who gave you birth.” And Judges 3:7 says something that continues throughout their history: “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God.” As our reading today puts it, “They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.” God’s people could be so forgetful!

God intends, however, that we use the gift of Sabbath to remember him, taking the opportunity to tell of his goodness and recount his faithfulness. Sabbath is a time for celebrating the freedom he has won for us in Jesus!

Decay theory says  that a memory trace is created in our brains with each new piece of information or each new experience we take in. These memory traces, though, begin almost immediately to fade and disappear. If they’re not retrieved and rehearsed, eventually they’re lost. In short, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it!

Sabbath gives us time and space to simply sit and reflect. It provides us the opportunity to muse over and ponder God’s wonderful love for us in Jesus and to give him thanks!


Gracious God in heaven, it’s so easy for us to lose sight of the grace and love you’ve shown us in Jesus. Help us to develop the Sabbath discipline of “remembering.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.Genesis 2:3

When we hear the word “Sabbath,” many of us think of the Jews—as if the idea of Sabbath started with them. When others of us hear the term, we might think of Protestant Reformers—as if the idea of Sabbath somehow started in the 16th century.

But the origin of the Sabbath is with God, the very first Sabbath keeper.

Today’s thoughts on the Sabbath begins with the idea that on the seventh day God “rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The first six days of creation were filled with a flurry of activity. As God released his creative energy, planets were born, stars were set in place, and the earth began teeming with life. But on the seventh day, the Creator rested.

It was God who first started the rhythm of six days of work followed by one day of rest. He is the one who established the pattern in the very beginning.

And because we have been made in his image (Genesis 1:27), that pattern is built into the very fabric of who we are.

Our lives, in order to reflect the life of the Creator, are to follow that same “six-and-one” pattern of work and rest.

Now the question is, are you getting your Sabbath rest?


Prayer:Father in heaven, on the seventh day of creation you looked out over all that you had made and declared it good! May we too follow the pattern of work and rest that you began. Amen.


Some verses about the Sabbath


Exodus 20:8-11Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.


Exodus 31:13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.


Mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.


Exodus 31:13-17 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”


Luke 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.



Habakkuk 3:18 – Yet I Will Rejoice

yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18, ESV)

Early on in my faith, I imagined that Jesus was going to make my life perfect. The impression that I had of my savior was that if I prayed, all the bad things in my life would go away. Eventually I discovered that following Jesus didn’t work like that. I had to reassess my faith in light of this new revelation.

I can’t help but wonder if Habakkuk had to re-exam his own faith when he realized what was about to happen to his people by God’s hand. The people of Israel were once again caught in a state of rebellion and through Habakkuk, God told the people of Israel that they were going in to exile under the cruel Babylonians. Habakkuk took issue with that and had a couple of tough conversations with God about His plans for the future of His people.

And yet, despite his misgivings about God’s purposes, he was willing to say, “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” I had to learn that lesson early on in my faith journey, just as Habakkuk learned to trust the Lord implicitly no matter the circumstances. In fact, I’m still learning after 20 years of faith.

Do you trust God as Habakkuk did? I know I could use some work in this are. How about you?

Guest Devotional by Jeremy Andrews. Jeremy is the Pastor of College Ministries at the CMA church of Morgantown in Morgantown WV. Learn how you can become a guest writer.

jacobAnd he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44 ESV)

Jesus had spent the evening with the twelve in what men would eventually label “The Last Supper”. He sat at the table of eleven faithful and one devil, serving them all. A discussion eventually broke out among them regarding who “was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). Like all fallen men, the disciples brought talk of the kingdom, thrones, and judgement back to themselves as centerpiece. Undoubtedly they each imagined themselves seated high upon a throne, regaled in fine garments, judging the twelve tribes of Israel from a place of authority. But the scene that would play out late into that dark night would change the course of the Christian man’s thinking forever.

The authority in the kingdom is not man’s, nor was it ever intended to be. In fact, King Jesus lived in a way that undeniably displayed this. While he walked the earth as a man without equal, he remained a servant (Mark 10:45). God’s plan for the world has never been, nor will ever be about the authority of men. Jesus lived this truth out even to the end as he submitted his authority, praying “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” His earthly life was lived to honor and glorify the Father by submitting to his divine authority rather than promote his own. It is obvious here the anguish and agony of this intimate moment, as Jesus is faced with this looming cup he must drink from; that cup was the wrath of God. “Nevertheless”, he said, and drank deeply from the cup of wrath, becoming for us “sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Is your life lived to exalt the Father’s authority, or promote your own? Answer this question by letting your flesh take a back seat to the Spirit’s leading today.